Imagine yourself in a lifetime 6,000 years ago in India. At nightfall, wrapped in a high priest's cloak and using several ingenius sighting instruments, you track the stars emerging from twilight and the east-to-west are of six pastel-hued planets. Behind their physical properties are invisible devas, for the cosmos is not dead matter, but alive with creative mind forces. You are privy to an intuitive science that states the geometry of the heavens reveals detailed patterns in the affairs and natures of humanity. As an adept of the yoga arts by you explore the truth that man and cosmos mirror each other. Man's celestial consciousness contains the cosmos. The cosmos synchronizes with the terrestrial layers of that consciousness - body, emotions and intellect.
Astrophysicist Percy Seymour synchronizes with data and testable theory. The scene above, perfectly realistic, is too supernatural for his taste. But he knows nature functions at super-refined levels. As an expert in planetary magnetism he thinks parts of astrology work through four features of nature: magnetism, harmonic resonance, genetics and neurology. He muses that astrology evolved from ancient astronomers keenly observing the natural order of the sky over many centuries to establish systems of agricultural and sacerdotal timing, weather and eclipse prediction. By deduction they tied that data to the events and natures of humanity. Unwittingly, Seymour says, that had stumbled into the currents and surf of the magnetic sea of the solar system that constantly washes over earth's atmosphere and the human nervous system.
According to his theory, the alignment of planetary/solar magnetic fields creates a magnetic tonal chord on Earth that plays into the neurological development of the fetus. The moment of birth is determined by the special tone of a rising planet the fetus is genetically attuned to a DNA inheritance from the parents. The individual remains attuned to the particular planetary alignment for life.
SKEPTIC TO SEEKER: Seymour's ideas are fleshed out in his book Astrology: the Evidence of Science, published in 1988, three years after he had converted from being an intractable skeptic on astrology to seriously seeking its mechanism. By taking the frontiers of magnetic astronomy into the realm of astrology Seymour has startled or alienated most of his scientific peers. From the Western astrological community has come a lukewarm reception - they aren't avidly seeking scientific peers. From the Western astrological community has come a lukewarm reception - they aren't avidly seeking scientific sanction and feel his model applies rather arbitrarily to a very small percentage of the astrological art.
Hindu astrologers are presently unaware of his ideas or book. And though they would agree that his magnetism model is extremely limited, the very fact that it exists a good, bold science would help bolster their position in India. Jyotisha, the Hindu mode of astrology, is under constant harassment by the Indian scientist/humanist community. Though jyotisha enjoys immense popularity - particularly the new computerized versions - millions of Hindu youth are being swayed to skepticism and a materialist worldview. Gayatri Devi Vasudev, daughter of astrologer laureate B.V. Raman, calls this the "scientific temper" in her angry new book, Astrology and the Hoax of "Scientific Temper."
HINDUISM TODAY spent a day with Dr. Percy Seymour in Plymouth, England. A relaxed, thoughtful man in his early fifties, who wears glasses, sweaters and tweed and smiles with a child's freshness, Seymour teaches astronomy at Plymouth Polytechnic and is Director of the William Day Planetarium. "I believe I am unique in being a fellow of the Royal Astronomers Society and a member of the Astrological Association." He is not an astrologer though. "My own specialty in astronomy is the magnetic field." A textbook he wrote, Cosmic Magnetism, was critically applauded, and polished his reputation. He laughingly points out that the same theories he applies to astrology appear in the textbook.
At the Marine Department he teaches tide theory as well. Tidal physics is a linchpin in the astrology work as it accounts for the moon's tidal stimulation of earth's magnetosphere and for the large-scale amplification of relatively weak magnetic forces from the other planets.
His office is spartan - bare white walls relieved only by a chart of the solar system and a groaning case of books. Here he answers critics who attack his thinking simply because it addresses astrology, or because they think it is bad science. Most haven't read his book. Undaunted, he persists, "I am planning a second book on astrology which should be ready by 1991. It explores how paranormal phenomenon might link up with the astrological phenomenon. In the meantime, my theory of astrology is developing apace with the mathematical model now. This mathematical model can be tested."
SOUTH AFRICAN SKIES: Seymour is the latest in a brave band of scientists who, over the past several decades, looked at the impact of planetary aspects - which from the core of astrological charts - on various solar and terrestrial phenomena. They all paid a price - one is a farmer in Scotland now, forced out of NASA. Seymour knows that science can be chained by its own dogmas, to the point where scientists behave like a wolfpack, irrationally defending status quo tenets and attacking new ideas. Seymour's rebel attitude stems from his upbringing in apartheid South Africa, where he fell in love with the skies and learned of human hate. Born of mixed parentage and raised in black Kimberley, any form of bigotry or bias seriously grates him. "I think that my irreligious attitude towards science comes from this. I don't accept that science should operate by authority. There may be more things in haven and earth than we have dreamt in our philosophy. It is part of the scientist's job to push science as far as it can go to explain what we do know."
It also turns out that his astrology chart - which he says with a smile is surprisingly accurate as to its personality analysis and personal history depictions - states his astronomy vocation will bring him into conflict with authority and he will be ostracized.
Seymour is also among a handful of professional scientists endeavoring to wed the esoterics of sub-atomic quantum physics of the mysteries of the paranormal. He says the book he is crafting now is called The Paranormal, A Key to Cosmic Reality. Not that he took off his science parachute, but he excitedly talks about landing in order realities that science cannot account for. "I think that there might well be another level and this is what the astrologers are saying. My theory can explain what all astrologers are saying. I can't explain what all astrologers are saying. It might well be that they are seeing a level of reality or sensing reality in a deeper way than the scientists can. I don't rule out that possibility. I am trying to investigate that possibility in my next book [on astrology]."
SYNCHRONIZED STAR MEN: Seymour is following the scientific method of looking for a cause/effect chain to explain astrology. Some material forces and/or arrangement of matter (gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear energies, sun/planets/earth/moon orbital relations) cause a specific and predictable type of personality and life pattern. This is called causality. A mythic example of causality would be if a Hindu believed that the demigods associated with the planets - the navagrahs 'nine planets" - somehow projected their will and whim to shape the good and unfortunate details of a person's life. The casual belief is raw superstition as our sidebar Jyotisha View explains.
The vast majority of contemporary astrologers from both the East and West systems do not see or look for, from science, causality in astrology. Their perception is that astrology would not exist or work if it was constrained to material causes and effects. This is indicated by the fact that Seymour's model touches only two very simple astrological conditions. Rather astrology is acausal, or operating under a non-cause/effect reality that transcends yet includes the material forces and forms of the cosmos. Another astrophysicist, Michael Shallis of Oxford University, who examined astrology in his book On Time says, "Astrology is an acausal system, even though it contains the continuity of the causally connected motions of the planets. To search for its origins and power by looking at those causal parts is of course a mistake and an ignorant mistake..."
Acausal is a slippery, abstract concept that astrologers themselves rarely use. Western practitioners use the term synchronicity. This means on one level that the cosmos is synchronized to the psychic environment and being a man, and on other more inclusive level, all life and all insentient forms and all event,/occasions are synchronized to each other both physically and psychically. In this richly intuitive view astrologers speak of correlations, correspondences and connections that jump through time and material laws. The result it is highly nuanced and accurate interpretation of not only birth charts (which Seymour's theory partially supports), but of other major regions of astrology: horary charts and auspicious timing evaluation. Synchronicity also says that astrology functions whether you are on earth or Pluto or in another galaxy.
A fascinating beauty of synchronicity is that it does not exclude discoveries such as Dr. Seymour's. Indeed, the more science unveils of natural laws, the more they conform to mystic wisdom with its fundamental force of infinitely varied yet seamless God consciousness.
Seymour on the Harmonics of the Hindu Astrological System
In HINDUISM TODAY'S conversation with Dr. Percy Seymour he told us his principle but posthumous mentor in astrology was John Addey, a world renowned astrologers who wove the crucial Hindu navamsa chart techniques into his theory of the harmonics of astrology. Navamsa "1/9th division" is the primary house analysis chart used in conjunction with the actual birth chart. Here are extracts from our interview:
HT: Have you been exposed to the Hindu system of astrology?
PS: I haven't studied the astrological system of India but my work links most naturally with John Addey. He died a few years ago. I never met him but I have read his works. In his book of harmonics in astrology Addey actually talks about the Hindu navamsa, which is the ninth harmonic chart.
HT: What do you mean when you speak of harmonics?
PS: Harmonics relates to resonance which can occur in many different situations in nature, whenever the fluctuations of an external force are in tune with the natural vibrations of a system. A well-known example of resonance is the shattering of wine glasses by an opera singer.
HT: How do harmonics function in astrology?
PS: Addey sees harmonics as the basis of all astrology, more so than the planets themselves. He says in the Western world we concentrated on the first harmonic. The ninth harmonic is very important to the Hindu astrologer in relation to the moon. According to my theory, this should be so because of the magnetic field the moon. Basically the magnetic field of Earth is reflecting how the planets are moving around the sun and even how the Earth is moving around the sun. So the magnetic field of Earth is resonating. Added to this, as the moon goes round the Earth it affects the tides not only in the ocean but in the magnetosphere [Earth's magnetic field]. These have higher order harmonics. My idea of all these tunes being played by the planets on the magnetic field of the Earth naturally gives rise to harmonics.
HT: Magnetic harmonics, then, influence people both before and after birth?
PS: We know our nervous system is actually electric currents. The fluctuations of the geomagnetic field cause changes in the neuro-network. What I am saying is that the relative position of the sun, Earth and other planets is causing a very complex tune to be played on the magnetic field of Earth. We are genetically tuned not to receive the whole symphony but to respond to a certain melody. We are genetically tuned to respond to the magnetic tunes of the moon, of Mars, of Saturn and so on. It also tells us how we might respond in future life to certain positions of the planets. They might predispose us in certain ways when we have the tunes that we first heard in the womb.
Planets in the Magnetic Sea
Seymour's theory of solar system magnetism as a mechanism for astrology is based on two different science studies: one, a huge statistical analysis conducted by French psychologist Michel Gauquelin of professions and personality type that correlated to the rising planet influence predicted by astrology. The other study comes out of a series of important but hushed investigations conducted in the US into the affects of planetary alignments. A man named Nelson, investigating orbital relations to see if he could predict bad radio conditions for the Radio Corporation of America, discovered that the planetary aspects of conjunction, opposition, square and trine degrees - the classic "power" alignments in astrology - did correlate to radio disruptions. Later studies by NASA confirmed that the alignments effected the huge magnetic field of the sun, triggering violent solar flare-ups. These spewed intense bursts of the so-called solar wind (ions, electrons, photons) into Earth's magnetic field. The beautiful aurora borealis are produced by this billowing solar wind hitting our atmosphere.
Gauquelin's statistical work with rising (also the midheaven, setting and opposite midheaven) planets uncovered a handful of strong correlations:
1.) Eminent writers born when the moon is rising or reached its highest point in the sky.
2.) Saturn (in rising position) is associated with births of scientists and physicians.
3.) Jupiter correlates to actors, journalists, politicians, politicians, military leaders, top executives.
4.) Mars distinguishes sports champions, physicians, politicians, military leaders.
5.) Planetary heredity - one or other of parents born when a given planet was rising, or near midheaven, then there is a tendency for their children to be born under similar conditions. This effect was most marked for the moon, Venus and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
6.) Planetary heredity births and enhanced on days Earth is magnetically disturbed.
7.) All the above correlations only occur in natural childbirth, not induced or ceserean.
Using Gauquelin's findings, Seymour added his own expertise in planetary magnetism and tidal theory to the Nelson and NASA planet aspect data. Other scientists have measured the gravitational and optical/heat effect of Mars, sun and moon, proving that the sun overwhelms any such planetary fields.
Seymour's theory envisions the planets swimming through the sun's magnetic field and solar wind in a continuous interplay of orbital alignments, magnetic resonances and planetary tidal forces which tremendously boost the amplitude of the magnetic music, just as the shape of a bay will increase the moon's pull on water from 2-3 feet to a fifty-foot tide. The classic major and minor aspects of astrology are the same as those that create the most compelling magnetic/tidal chords as he calls them. Earth's magnetic field - the magnetosphere - is 20-30 times the planet's size, its response to other magnetic tones and tidal forces jumping up to 10,000 times at its periphery. Earth rings like a bell in harmony with the solar system chords. Life is bathed in and neurologically programmed (particularly during fetal development) by this music. The four main angles of a rising planet to Earth are specially potent. The rising planet triggers the final birth exit. Each individual is genetically calibrated to a certain planet. The attunement is active for the entire life. A major astrological flaw is that the whole theory only applies to natural birth.
Western scholars suppose that Hindus inherited astrology from the Greeks who in turn borrowed it from the civilizations of Central Asia: the Chaldeans through the Assyrians. Hindu historians refute this theory and build a case that Hindu priest/astronomers possessed a sophisticated science of astronomy/astrology dating back 6,000 years and receding into unchronicled history. Hindus invented the concept of zero and the decimal system, giving them tremendous dexterity in mathematics and astronomy. The Vedas indicate Hindus knew that the earth rotated on its axis and of the precessions of the equinoxes into distant eras.
Hindu jyotisha is the most exacting and subtle astrological system in the world. It functions within the realities of karma, reincarnation, the inner world we occupy at death and two chakras of our soul body: the first chakra of memory, time and space and high chakra that houses our total karmic sequence. The stars of Gods don't dictate events or character. We act with absolute free will, but also face the results of our pervious acts of free will - our teaching karma. Jyotisha is like video we choose to put in the cosmic tape deck of our karmic/psyche patterns for the present life. It reveals probabilities. As a video tape can be altered or erased, we can revise the pattern of jyotisha by changing our subconscious through a dharmic lifestyle and by yogic sadhanas.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.