Astrology - How accurate is astrology?

Abstract

It is commendable that the science of Astrology can perceive aspects of the subtle world and destiny that is beyond the comprehension of modern sciences. Through spiritual research methodology we have ascertained that the accuracy of Astrology is a maximum of 30%. The accuracy and power of interpretation of an astrologer can be increased only through spiritual practice.

1. Introduction to the accuracy of Astrology

From time immemorial, the concept that celestial bodies in the sky can provide a map of the future has fascinated mankind. Mankind’s romance with Astrology ranges from a casual glance at the newspaper’s zodiac signs section, to making important decisions in life such as matrimonial, financial and even medical on the advice of astrologers. It is known that some heads of state too have consulted astrologers to help make decisions that could influence the course of history.

So what is the accuracy of Astrology when used as a tool to predict the future or for decision making? We have used spiritual research methodologies to assist in shedding light on this question along with providing a spiritual perspective to the accuracy of Astrology and the parameters that could affect it.

What is interesting about Astrology is that astrologers try to understand the destiny of people based on very limited data like the time of birth and the latitude and longitude of the place of birth. The astrologer tries to give data about certain aspects of a person’s life like the astrological cause of a particular illness or difficulty, such as

inability to get married,

the best time to start a business venture or any other personal venture and

national issues.

According to the science of Spirituality, destiny is that part of our lives which is predetermined even before our birth. All the major events in our lives are pre-destined such as the parents we are born to, the person that we marry or a life threatening disease we could have. Destiny is inherently a spiritual issue which cannot be comprehended by the five sense organs, the mind and the intellect.

The fact that astrologers claim that they can predict our destiny by using their astrological science and a bit of intuition1 peaked our interest and hence we decided to research this knowledge system.

1Refer to section 5.5.2

2. About Astrology

2.1 What is Astrology?

We found that there are various definitions of Astrology based on peoples’ understanding of the subject. They include:

Astrology is an elaborate system of knowledge and there are voluminous treatises containing very intricate calculation based on the position of stars and planets and the inter-relation existing between them and the various phenomena on earth including human life. (Ref: vedic.indastro.com, 2006)

“Astrology does not offer an explanation of the laws of the universe, nor why the universe exists. What it does, to put it in simplest terms, is to show that there is a correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm. In short that there is a rhythm to the universe, and that man’s own life partakes of this rhythm.” (Henry Miller – Ref: elore.com, Feb 2006)

Astrology is an ancient practice that assumes that the position of the stars and planets has a direct influence upon people and events. Supposedly, one’s life pattern can be charted by determining the position of the stars and planets at the time of one’s birth. The chart that attempts to accomplish this is known as a horoscope. (Ref: greatcom.org)

Some of the more common phrases we found were:

Inter-relation between position of stars and planets and phenomenon on Earth including human life.

There is a correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm.

The position of the stars and planets has a direct influence on people and events.

Even though there are variations in definition of Astrology there is agreement that for every horoscope, the time of birth is the essential starting point, along with the place of birth (latitude and longitude of the birthplace).

2.2 How is Astrology used?

Through research we found that there are many types of Astrology and their main applications include:

Application or Use Meaning
Predictive To know about what lies ahead
Diagnostic

To act as an aid to solve difficult medical cases or for that matter understanding the root cause of a difficulty affecting any aspect of life. For example, a person may ask an astrologer the question as to why he is continually facing financial difficulties despite having a good income.

Basic nature and compatibility

To understand one’s basic nature and compatibility with profession or with a life partner based on each other’s zodiac signs or horoscope.

Decision making

This includes knowing the recommended auspicious time for a planned event such as marriage or an opening ceremony for one’s business or to answer a specific question such as when one should get married.

Later in the section on a spiritual perspective we have provided details on the accuracy of these applications of Astrology.

Also it is pertinent to add that depending on whom we go to for assistance to solve our problems, the manner of investigating the cause of problems would be different. There is a Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) verse which states that in the case of any difficulty:

If one consults a person who practices the science of Āyurvēda, i.e a vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), he will say it is because of the imbalance between the three humours of bile, phlegm and wind.

If one consults an astrologer he will say it is because of a particular position of stars and planets.

If one consults a doctor he would say it is because of disease affecting some part of the body

If one consults a spiritually evolved person he will say it is because of destiny.

So which diagnosis is to be believed?

According to the science of Spirituality, the answer is that all are true, because these answers are not mutually exclusive or different from each other but just different ways of expressing the same truth behind the difficulty based on the point of reference. For example, what is to happen according to one’s destiny may also be explained in terms of position of stars and planets.

3. Modern sciences’ arguments against the reliability and accuracy of Astrology

The promise of the definitions of Astrology given above in section 2.1 i.e. of being able to predict the future has far reaching possibilities. However it has met with strong opposition from some religions and also modern sciences with regards to its accuracy and reliability. Modern sciences refer to Astrology as a fake or pseudo science.

From research conducted, we found a number of generic objections against Astrology. Some of the main arguments of modern sciences against the accuracy and reliability of Astrology include:

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3.1 What about free will?

If the position of the planets (the macro), influences and produces a corresponding reaction in man (the micro), this makes man a pawn in the cosmos, with his life and actions pre-determined and unalterable. What about free will in being able to determine one’s future?

Spiritual perspective: Please refer to section 5.1 for a spiritual perspective behind free will.

3.2 No standardisation in interpretation

There are many systems of Astrology, each having their own methods diametrically opposed to each other. There is no unanimity in the standardisation of interpretation. For example, astrologers in the West would not interpret a horoscope in the same way as a Chinese astrologer.

Editor SSRF: It is argued that a uniform way of interpretation is not the issue. What is relevant and important here is the fact whether their predictions are alike.

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3.3 Too generalised

Most predictions of behaviour and personality are so generalised that it would be hard for them not to be at least partially accurate.

Spiritual perspective: Please refer to section 5.4 for a spiritual perspective behind accuracy.

3.4 Does not use all the planets

The basis of Astrology concerns the number of planets in our solar system. Yet most astrological charts are based upon the assumption that there are seven planets in our solar system (including the Sun and the Moon). In ancient times, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto could not be observed with the naked eye. As a result, astrologers based their system upon the seven planets they believed revolved around the Earth.
Since that time, it has been proven that the Sun, not the Earth, is the centre of the solar system and that three other planets exist in our solar system. According to the astrological theory (that the position of planets has a definite influence upon human behaviour and events), the three previously undiscovered planets should also influence behaviour and must be considered for an exact horoscope to be cast. They usually are not considered, so the astrological theory breaks down, for no accurate horoscope could be charted without considering all the planets and their supposed influence.

Editor SSRF: There is evidence to prove that traditions such as Vēdic Astrology existed many thousands of years before and even at that time had an in-depth understanding of astronomy and facts such as the above. Please refer to section 5.3

3.5 Shifting Constellations

Astrology is unscientific because of the fact of the precession or the shifting of constellations. The early astronomers were not aware of precession and therefore failed to take it into account in their system. The twelve signs of the zodiac originally corresponded with the twelve constellations of the same names. However due to precession, the constellations have shifted about in the last 2,000 years. This means that the constellation of Virgo is now in the sign of Libra, the constellation of Libra is now in the sign of Scorpio, and so on.

Editor SSRF: There is evidence to prove that traditions such as Vedic Astrology existed many thousands of years before and even at that time had an in-depth understanding of astronomy and facts such as the above. They were aware of it and astrological calculations were designed taking the shift into consideration. Please refer to section 5.3

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3.6 Other factors that influence childbirth

Astrology ignores other gravitational forces of non-solar system bodies for example., the pull of gravity by the obstetrician on a newborn child is about six times greater than that of Mars. (Ref: Hugh Ross, Ph.D)

Editor SSRF: The Spiritual Science Research Foundation has a number of medical doctors who practice Spirituality under its guidance. While they endorse the statement that the influence of the physical force applied by the obstetrician is many times more than the gravitational force of Mars, they argue that it is much greater than the 6 times asserted by Hugh Ross.

Spiritual perspective: Astrologers mainly do take the influence of planets as significant. But is Astrology about the physical influence of planets or is it about planetary positions that act as a roadmap of our destiny? Refer to section 5.2

3.7 Why is the moment of birth, rather than conception, considered when drawing up the chart for Astrology?

The horoscope is based on an exact datum: the subject’s time of birth. However why is this time taken and not the time of conception? Scientists now believe that many aspects of a child’s personality are set long before birth – so a horoscope should take into account the life before birth.

Spiritual perspective: The exact time of conception is difficult to identify, However if the horoscope was drawn up prior to birth it would have more accurate results. Please refer to section 5.5.5 for further information.

3.8 Statistical evidence

Through the years there have been various statistical studies conducted trying to validate the accuracy of Astrology. Astrology-and-science.com states an experiment wherein many sets of birth charts were jumbled up with descriptions of their owners. The task for astrologers was to match the charts to owners.

“In Astrology books they do it all the time”, they said. “So we expect the proportion of successful matches to pile up close to 100%. To date a total of 54 studies have made this test using a total of 742 astrologers and 1407 birth charts. Despite these impressive numbers the average success rate was no different from the 50% expected by chance, that is it was no better than tossing a coin.”

Editor SSRF: It is argued that if even one astrologer got it right across the various variables in a person’s life such as financial status, number of children, personality characteristics, matrimonial features, business, illnesses, etc. it would be commendable as the probability of getting it right across so many variables would be even less.

4. Some religions reject Astrology

Religions such as Christianity reject Astrology outright for the following reasons:

A Christian website absolutetruth.net states that Astrology is strongly condemned by the Bible as tantamount to witchcraft and occultism. It states, “If the underlying theory of Astrology is true, that the position of the stars impacts, foretells or in any way determines human activity, consider some of the implications”:

> “Humans could not be held responsible for their actions, good or bad. There would be no basis upon which to judge any behaviour ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ if the individual was compelled to behave that way due to some cosmic alignment.”

Spiritual perspective: According to the science of Spirituality this is not entirely correct. Please refer to article on the spiritual law of give-and-take that shows the law behind “as you sow so shall you reap”.

> “Our choices would be rendered meaningless. If the future can be foretold by gauging the movements of planets and stars, proving that we are living with only an illusion of free will, then nothing we do or fail to do would matter in the least. We would be ‘trapped’ by our ‘destiny’.”

Spiritual perspective: According to the science of Spirituality, the existence of destiny is very much a fact, but we can overcome our destiny and not get trapped by it.  Refer to section 5.1 and an article on how to overcome destiny

> Life-change, one of the central concepts of the Bible, would be impossible because according to Astrology our lives would be set on a particular course at birth.

Spiritual perspective: A person can progress spiritually even if he has adverse destiny. Refer to section 5.1 and an article on how one becomes a better person by undertaking spiritual practice, “Benefits of Spiritual Practice”.

> Christians believe that demonic spiritual forces can manipulate the events of people’s lives who have opened themselves up to occultist influence, such as Astrology and horoscopes. The Holy Bible contains strict warnings related to this.

Spiritual perspective: Demonic forces such as ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.) can affect anyone even if they are pious. They do not need a medium such as Astrology to mislead any one. The principle is that the higher one’s spiritual level and the more one practises Spirituality the more one is insulated from the effect of ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.). Most people in the current era irrespective of religion are at the 20% spiritual level. They therefore, have little reserves of spiritual energy and therefore have virtually no defence against ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.). Refer to our section on ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.).

5. A spiritual perspective into the accuracy and reliability of Astrology

The following are some points that we have obtained during the course of our spiritual research that will shed light on Astrology as a knowledge system and its accuracy.

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5.1 How much of free will do we really have in our lives?

According to the science of Spirituality, on an average in the present era 65% of our lives are ruled by destiny and 35% by wilful action (freedom to choose). Destiny is that part of our life where we have no control over life’s situations. Wilful action is that part of our life over which we have control.

Astrology - Destiny versus wilful action

Astrology can only perceive to some extent what is in one’s destiny and how a person will be likely to use his wilful action based on his basic nature. Ordinarily one cannot dodge destiny even if one knew it. However since destiny is inherently a spiritual factor it can be overcome by spiritual means only, that is by spiritual practice or the grace of a Guru (i.e. a spiritual master above the spiritual level of 70%).

What is the benefit to us if we know the severity of our destiny?

On knowing the severity of our destiny, we can do a corresponding amount of spiritual practice to overcome it completely or be insulated from it. In the case of severe destiny, at least we can be forewarned and thus can be forearmed and mentally prepared. Please refer to the diagram below on the type of destiny and the means to overcome it.

Astrology - Types of destiny

Please note:

Intense spiritual practice in terms of quantity would mean about 12-14 hours of practice a day. In terms of quality, it means that the person does all his daily activities as service to God, with a lot of desire and with the primary purpose to attain God.

Medium spiritual practice in terms of quantity would mean about 4-5 hours of practice a day. In terms of quality, it means that the person does most of his daily activities as service to God.

Please refer to the articles on

destiny, wilful action and the law of karma

5.2 The planets and stars do influence human behaviour, however they act as markers.

According to the science of Spirituality:

  • The life of a man or events on earth are not solely influenced by celestial bodies or their position. If we were to take the gross or physical influences, there are many other things that could affect our lives and it would not be limited to just the celestial bodies.
  • However it acknowledges that celestial bodies do have a limited influence on human lives, for example the effect of a full moon and new moon on human lives has been well documented. Along with this, celestial bodies do act as markers or a roadmap to a person’s life.

Refer to section 5.4 for all the major influences in a person’s life.

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5.3 Astrology as a science

Astrology just like modern sciences is part of the all-encompassing science of Spirituality. The reason for this is that Astrology has been confirmed and reconfirmed based on observation, inference and conclusion just like modern sciences. However the use of intuition in the science of Astrology is only possible if the astrologer is of a high spiritual level.

Astrology has its roots in the ancient Indian Vedic scriptures. Sages of ancient India knew many facts about our universe thousands of years ago that are only being known to modern science in the recent past. Some of these facts are:

  • That our Sun is quite small when compared to other suns and was known to ancient Sages of India 7000 years ago.

  • Description of nebulae photographed by modern sciences have been found in the Rigveda dating back to thousands of years.

  • That the star Vega (called Abhijit in Sanskrit) slipped down the sky 12000 years B.C. that is now known to modern astronomers, was already mentioned by Sage Vyas in 5561 B.C.
    (Ref: The book Vedic science and Vedic time calculations by Dr. P.V. Vartak)

  • In Vedic astronomy, we find the statement that the Earth is a moving body but appears static, as declared by Vedic seers, long before Galileo discovered it. (Ref: The Storehouse of Wisdom Dr. R.N. Aralikatti)

  • The Sages of India discovered astonishingly subtle and profound psycho-biophysical connections between human organism and cosmic subterranean processes. How could people in those far-off times know so much about the conditions and factors that regulate the course of the vital processes and the character of the interaction between man and nature, particularly the influence of the celestial bodies, the Sun and Moon and the various radiation proceeding from outer space and the bowels of the earth, without any experiments or apparatus? And all this was taken into consideration both in diagnosing and in treatment! Does this not go to show an astonishingly high level of culture that should arouse our admiration gratitude and desire to study? (Ref: Professor Alexander Spirkin, a well-known psychologist, as quoted in Indastro.com)

Astrology is quite unique as a science and knowledge system as it perceives a certain extent of the subtle world that cannot be perceived by the five senses mind and intellect. For example, Astrology can tell if one is being affected by ancestors, based on the position of celestial bodies.

On the other hand, modern science tries to understand the universe through the medium of the five senses, mind and intellect. However the extent of the known physical universe compared to the subtle or spiritual dimension is 1: infinity. Modern science through modern scientific equipment cannot ascertain problems or difficulties in life that have a root cause in the spiritual dimension. For example, if a person is being affected by ancestral problems, modern sciences cannot diagnose or treat this symptom. It is commendable that with the intellect, the seasoned astrologer (i.e. the Vedic astrologer, the fore-father of our astrologers) is able to perceive at least somepart of the subtle dimension so as to diagnose that one’s ancestors are stuck in some nether region and need their descendant’s help.

Also with regards to the entire debate about whether Astrology is a science or not and the reasons or arguments made against it the following points can be borne in mind. It seems that Astrology has got the shorter end of the stick in terms of modern sciences judging it. A science does not have to be 100% right to be considered a science. For example, if a geologist (despite billions of dollars in funding) cannot tell where and when the next earthquake will strike, we do not say that geology is not a science. If a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis we do not discredit the entire medical profession. Doing so would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. On account of fairness we should use the same rigorous judgement system that we have for knowledge systems, like Astrology, for modern sciences too.

5.4 Accuracy of Astrology

As mentioned earlier, Astrology is generally applied in four ways. What is the maximum amount of accuracy that can be obtained on average in these four applications of Astrology? Spiritual research carried out indicated the following results:

Application

Meaning of application

Maximum possible accuracy2
(Through spiritual research)

Predictive

To know about what lies ahead

30%

Diagnostic

To act as an aid to understand the root cause of a difficulty affecting any aspect of life.

27%

Basic nature and compatibility

To understand one’s basic nature and compatibility with life partners or profession based on each other’s star signs or horoscope.

27%

Decision making

This includes knowing the auspicious time for a planned event or answering a specific question such as when one should get married.

5%

2 This accuracy is based on the ability to ascertain the root cause of a problem across the physical, psychological and spiritual dimension.

  • Please read the section 5.5 on the factors affecting the accuracy of an Astrology reading. The causes of issues/events in our life are manifold and Astrology cannot perceive all of them. They include, destiny along with the give-and-take account, ghosts (demons, devils, negative energies, etc.), positive energies, how we use our free will (wilful action), spiritual energies in the body and the environment around us.
  • Some of us may be tempted to dismiss Astrology as a science based on the above figures.
  • The percentages are in fact quite high when you compare it to other disciplines in their respective fields. Along with the figures quoted below, consider the fact that an astrologer is able to achieve these percentages with just a piece of paper as opposed to modern sciences that are backed by billions of dollars in funding and using the most sophisticated equipment.

Here are a few examples where various disciplines that come under modern sciences fair as a success rate, in their respective fields.

  1. Geology: There is great interest in predicting the location and time of large earthquakes because of their devastating potential. Although a great deal is known about where earthquakes are likely to occur, there is currently no reliable way to predict the day or month when an event will occur in any specific location. (Ref: Department of Earth and Space Sciences – University of Washington)
  2. Psychotherapy: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism studied about 1,700 patients a few years ago. Of the patients institutionalized for treatment and receiving aftercare, only 44 percent managed to stay sober for three months while only 26 percent receiving outpatient treatment, managed three months of sobriety. (Ref: Pulitzer.org)
  3. Medical: It has been observed that survival rate for lung cancer is less than 10%.(Ref: cancerresearchuk.org)

Do we ignore these sciences or disciplines just because we have a low rate of success in these fields?

5.5 Factors influencing accuracy of Astrology

5.5.1 Depending on tradition of Astrology used

There are various traditions used in Astrology. Each of them has varying methodology. The following table is a comparative chart of the accuracy able to be achieved by the more significant traditions obtained through spiritual research.

Astrology - The average accuracy of different traditions in astrology

Note: Accuracy is based on the same ability of the astrologer who is able to achieve a 30% accuracy in Vedic Astrology.

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5.5.2 Based on the spiritual level of the astrologer

Depending on the spiritual level of an astrologer results can vary in accuracy.

The spiritual level of the astrologer

Accuracy

20% 3 (i.e. an average person, no spiritual practice)

27%

30%

31%

40% 4

34%

50%

38%

60%

42%

Beyond 70% 5

Do not need Astrology

Footnotes (based on the numbers in the above table):

3 Most people in the current era do not do any spiritual practice. As a result the average spiritual level in the current Era of Strife (Kaliyug) is 20%.

4 As a rule of thumb, in the current era approximately 1 in every 1000 people is at the 40% spiritual level.

5 Currently there are about 100 Saints worldwide who are above the 70% spiritual level.

An astrologer sometimes uses his intuition to assist in the interpretation of the horoscope. According to the science of Spirituality astrologers can only use their intuition to assist in predicting more accurately if their spiritual level is high.

5.5.3 Based on the person doing spiritual practice

The only way to overcome destiny or be insulated from it is to do spiritual practice. This is because destiny which is a spiritual problem can only be overcome by a spiritual remedy. However the effect of spiritual practice and religious rituals done to overcome a problem where the root cause is spiritual in nature is not reflected in the chart. Hence an astrological reading does not reflect the spiritual practice undertaken by the person.

For example, at birth if an astrologer detects an ancestor’s problem in the horoscope of a person and if the person does a ritual etc. then that defect is removed but the next astrologer will still read it the same way. From this perspective, palmistry is superior to Astrology as the changes are reflected in the lines on the hands. As an average person does not do spiritual practice in the true sense of the word, he is not really impacted by this inherent shortcoming of Astrology.

5.5.4 Based on type of question asked to the astrologer

Accuracy also depends on the type of question asked to the astrologer.

For example, someone may ask an astrologer whether to invest in one venture or the other. Another person may ask whether to get married to person A or person B.

A better result of accuracy could have been achieved if the person asked whether to invest or not in the first place or whether to get married or not.

If one’s line of questioning is according to the following sequence, the possibility of getting more accurate answers is enhanced.

Question 1: Should one invest at all?
Question 2: If so then in what?
Question 3: When should I invest?

— Or —

Question 1: Should I get married at all?
Question 2: If so then to whom?
Question 3: When is a favourable time?

5.5.5 According to the time of one’s birth

If the horoscope is drawn up based on the time of conception, then there is an increased level of accuracy.

The reason for the increased accuracy as we go backward in time during the pregnancy is as follows:

  • The principle is that as the worldly component influence increases the accuracy decreases.

  • At the time of conception the impact of the mother and her surroundings on the foetus is minimal. With time, this goes on increasing and hence accuracy decreases.

However which mother-to-be will be able to pin-point the exact time of conception? In our body there are millions of cells out of which, in one cell what changes are talking place is very difficult to understand. Which woman can understand this? Only the one who has already reached the spiritual level of a Saint of 90% and above, and if she wishes to know. However normally nobody conceives at this high spiritual level. In ancient times, wives of Sages who used to be spiritually evolved, used to know the correct time of the start of their pregnancy.

An accuracy of 100% can only be achieved by a Saint of a spiritual level of 90% and above and that too only if He wishes to know. Most of the time they would not indulge their spiritual ability in finding this out, unless the embodied soul to be born is of more than the 80% spiritual level and the facts about the birth of the child are to be known beforehand as per God’s wish. As the purpose of this kind of birth is based on the spiritual benefit of mankind and there is maximum quantity of the Absolute Truth, the answers obtained will also be highly accurate. If it is an ordinary birth then the worldly component (asat – translated as that which is ‘not true’) is more and hence the accuracy decreases.

6. In summary

  • The accuracy of a horoscope is directly dependent on the power of interpretation of an astrologer.

  • If we consider the power of interpretation of the present astrologer (who is able to predict upto a maximum of 30% accuracy) as 1, then to get a 100% accurate answer the power of interpretation would need to be 1000 times the present power of interpretation.

  • The power of interpretation and intuition can only be increased by spiritual practice.

  • In this current era 65% of our lives are destined. If we use the 35% of our free will to do spiritual practice we can overcome or be insulated from our destiny. Spiritual practice is the only way to counteract an adverse destiny.

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