You know it’s bad when you spend your Friday night going to an Astrology lecture. I am officially an Astrology Geek, my sweet husband even suffered through it with me!
Last night we loaded up after a long day at work for both of us and drove across Houston to Body, Mind, Soul Bookstore to attend a lecture hosted by the Houston Astrological Society and presented by Kevin Burk, a Houston-based astrologer. Burk has been doing research on Mercury retrogrades using very large data sets and statistics to study its effects. His presentation was thought provoking.
Astrology has a long way to go to prove itself to the scientific community. But here is someone who is making a start. Burk studied hundreds of thousands of court cases, looking to see if cases that were decided during Mercury retrograde periods were more likely to be overturned on appeal. (It has no effect according to him. ) He also studied flight delays and other transportation data and tied this to the seasonal and irregular patterns of Mercury. The results were unexpected and point to the need for further research and a great deal more funding. But the potential practical benefits are clear. He found that there was a strong correlation between what sign Mercury was in and the number of transportation delays in huge sets of data that spanned decades and multiple forms of transportation in multiple locations. Millions of instances of flight, train, and bus delays were sampled as well as car crash information.
He made some valid and interesting points throughout his presentation:
- Getting usable data has been one of the biggest challenges Astrology has faced in trying to validate itself to the scientific community.
- Statistics and Astrology both study of the seasons/cycles and the correlation of events.
- Large data sets are only now much more available online to anyone who wants to use them; only within the past 5-7 years did the data he used become available.
- Astrology and Statistics both study the correlation of events and involve the measure time.
I approached him after his lecture and spoke with him briefly about my interest in Mercury cycles and its effect on education, the work of teachers, and learning that takes place in classrooms. He shared his opinions of how big of a subject that really is: ambiguous and nebulous. We have such a long, long, long way to go in the realm of Astrology to catch up with the methods that scientists use to conduct research and prove their theories. To that, I really could not disagree. I know this topic is WAAAY bigger than I am.
I always get new questions when it comes to astrology though, and then when I go far enough with those questions, I always reach a limit I am forced to accept. It is a reassuring experience to meet that limit of understanding. It means I can finally take a break. We cannot know everything. It acts like a parental boundary for me, like a curfew, or a speed limit, or other rule or law. It helps me settle down. But that acceptance never lasts, inevitably, a new, burning question pops up and a new fascination that leads me on a fool’s errand or a hero’s quest, depending on how you want to look at it. I’m such a geek.