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of Recent Advances in Natal Astrology

Interviews in 1978, 1985, 1989 about this 1977 milestone and its update

Abstract -- The publication in 1977 of Recent Advances in Natal Astrology: A Critical Review 1900-1976 is widely regarded as a milestone in the history of scientific astrology. It led to a boom in research, and to the founding of London research conferences and the research journal Correlation. But most astrologers regarded it with horror before retreating en masse from critical thinking. Those times have been recorded in three published interviews:{ (1) Dean and Mather interviewed by Malcolm Dean in 1978. Covers origins of Recent Advances (it was needed), how it was compiled (get help from around the world), the enthusiastic support of the Astrological Association (especially Charles Harvey), and the next step (complete literature retrieval and coverage of missed topics). (2) Charles Harvey interviewed by Michael Erlewine in 1985. Covers the support given by the Astrological Association and some later reactions (Recent Advances gives the facts and figures but neglects what astrologers love and which draws people to astrology). (3) Geoffrey Dean interviewed by Rudolf Smit in 1989. Covers reactions (mixed), new research (also mixed), status of the next step (much has been published), and the pains and pleasures (new discoveries and support from informed others make it rewarding). An update on the next step (RA2, for which a close approximation is this website and Astrology under Scrutiny) covers work already published, and compares topics in the 1970s (chart factors) with those of today (artifacts and faulty reasoning). Includes a possible birth chart of Recent Advances. If nothing else, Recent Advances has shown how lighting candles is more productive than cursing the darkness.

Recent Advances in Natal Astrology
Recent Advances had its contents listed on the back cover. Chapter headings are: Introduction, Perspectives (eg Validation), Zodiacs, Signs, Houses, Rulerships, Planets, Non-Planets (eg Nodes), Aspects, Lack of Aspects, Angularity, Other Factors (eg Midpoints), Birth, Cycles, Other Evidence (eg Blind Trials), Summaries in French and German, Index, Glossary. The book was available only in paperback. Size is 214 x 151 x 33 mm thick. Price shown on back cover is £10 or $25 (whether USA, Canada, Australia, or NZ). Today you can sometimes buy a secondhand copy from Amazon for up to $150 ("scarce title, a wonderful collector's item" says Amazon).

The publication in 1977 of Recent Advances in Natal Astrology: A Critical Review 1900-1976, popularly known as RA, is widely regarded as a milestone in the history of scientific astrology. In 608 pages and 250,000 words it summarised empirical findings from 300 astrology books (out of over 1000 consulted), 400 journal articles, and 300 relevant scientific works. At a time when references and indexes were generally unknown in astrology books, this one contained over 1000 references and a 17-page index. It took Geoffrey Dean and Arthur Mather, together with 52 astrologers and scientists from 10 countries, seven man-years to prepare.

Reviews were predictably either for or against. "The magnum opus in the intellectual and scientific house-cleaning of astrology so long overdue" from Omni, and "An important first thrust at the Gordian knot of unquestioned belief that stifles astrology" from Cosmecology Bulletin, were opposed by "Very little is done, however, to show the artistic, interpretative challenge presented by the vast store of astrological symbolism" from Astrology Now. That was in 1978.

Effect on Research
The effect of Recent Advances on research was threefold. First, it identified promising areas for future research, notably John Addey's harmonics ("promises to revolutionise astrology"), Donald Bradley's Jupiter Pluvius ("must rank among the most remarkable studies"), John Nelson's radio propagation studies ("the most valuable insight of all"), the Mayo-Eysenck sun sign zigzag ("no conclusion is possible"), Vernon Clark's matching experiments ("strong apparent support for astrology"), and Michel Gauquelin's planetary effects ("without doubt the most rigorous work of all").

Second, it led to the founding in 1979 of London research conferences, in 1981 of the research journal Correlation, and subsequently of Urania Trust research grants. In 1982 it led Eysenck and Nias to publish Astrology Science or Superstition?, a survey of the scientific evidence for astrology aimed at a more general readership, which in turn led to the founding in 1987 of Eysenck Research Seminars and of CORA, the Committee for Objective Research in Astrology, with Eysenck as Chairman. Today we tend to take such activities for granted. But before Recent Advances they were almost unheard of, at least at a scientific level.

Third, it led to studies including prize competitions that focussed on the promising areas identified in 1977. But artifacts were found in each case, so their support for astrology effectively disappeared (for details see Artifacts in data on this website under Problem Areas). By the late 1990s these and other studies had changed astrology from an ancient mystery to a process easily explainable in terms of human judgement biasses and statistical artifacts, which twenty years earlier might have seemed unlikely. These later studies also had the effect of negating the positive conclusions of Recent Advances, which today are so dated and misleading that they have only historical value. More on this later under "Status of RA2 in 2013".

Effect on Astrologers
In 1996, nearly twenty years after the appearance of Recent Advances, its effect on astrologers was described by former British astrologer Nick Hunter as follows (abridged from a posting on alt.astrology):

"I am fascinated by the culture conflict between the scientific mind and the way astrologers work. As a geoscientist, I was appalled by the way in which mainstream astrology went fleeing en-masse away from mundane and most things non-psychological or non-symbolic after Dean and Mather published Recent Advances in Natal Astrology in 1977.

"Dean and Mather worked carefully with all the top names in astrology at that time. They applied statistical techniques to astrological assertions and found reams of rubbish, much unsubstantiated nonsense and very little which would stand up to a students t-test or simple statistical validation. I was fascinated by the objectivity of their landmark analysis, but to my horror, I found that most fellow astrologers were frightened witless by their book.

"No-one wanted to face up to the new verification discipline that Dean and Mather had laid out, and the whole astro-clan went fleeing off into psychological, symbolic, mythological or historical astrology. Compared with other sciences, the energy, the output, the learned discussion, the wisdom, the insights are so feeble as to be cause for shameful lament.

"Dean and Mather were scrupulously fair, but the discipline they brought to astrology triggered the effective demise of astrology as a science. I packed up and left astrology in about 1985, but still keep an eye open for something of interest. Nothing much has really changed in the past ten years. I mourn the dreadful state astrology has got itself into."

Origins of Recent Advances
Because Recent Advances was such a landmark, historians may wish to know something about its origins, the attitudes in those days, and subsequent reactions. Fortunately such things have been recorded in three published interviews with respectively Geoffrey Dean and Arthur Mather (1978), Charles Harvey (1985), and Geoffrey Dean (1989). These interviews are reproduced below in abridged form to exclude irrelevant material. At the end is an update on the status of RA2 and a possible birth chart of Recent Advances.

The well-dressed astrologer
Recent Advances was once essential reading for every well-dressed astrologer

Dean and Mather interviewed by Malcolm Dean in 1978
Abridged from Phenomena 2.3-2.4, May-August 1978. Malcolm Dean (no relation) was the editor. The interview was conducted by mail and includes material from an unpublished 1976 interview with Mark Feldman, then book reviewer for Horoscope magazine.

PH: Do you think astrology could, or should, be more scientific? How would this alter astrology?

GD: If astrology does not become more objective it will continue to be overloaded with fantasy.

AM: And this fantasy can only be to the detriment of all concerned ... except perhaps the less scrupulous professionals. Without a science of astrology there can be no art of astrology.

PH: What are the origins of the Recent Advances project?

GD: Recent Advances did not begin as a specific project. It just grew from a modest literature survey I made in Western Australia in 1973. I went to the UK, and found myself living near the Astrological Association Research Library, then one of the best collections of astrological books and journals available anywhere. I was able to greatly improve the survey. At that time I had nothing more in mind than an article. Then the Astrological Association expressed an interest in publishing it in book form. The article was not yet adequate for this, so I did more literature surveys and circulated the results to various astrologers for comment. From that point on it grew to its present status.

PH: Why did you consider doing the project?

GD: Because it was needed and I was in a position to do it. I want to stress that it was possible only because the right things were in the right place at the right time. Such a project has a number of essential requirements: (1) Access to astrological literature. Astrology libraries do not grow on trees. Yet one of the best in the world was around the corner. (2) Access to the best astrologers. Who has the opportunity to chase around the world to find these people? Yet my job as a science writer for NATO took me to Europe and the USA, where I was able to give lectures and involve people personally in a way that mere letter-writing never could. (3) Access to wordprocessing and xeroxing facilities, which in the 1970s were still rare. Yet they were available as part of my NATO work. (4) Expertise in literature searching, science writing, layout, graphic design and organization. This is my professional specialization. (5) Adequate finance. This was the biggest problem. Other than the loans raised to cover printing costs, it all had to come out of my pocket. We almost didn't make it.

Finally, there has to be co-operation. Not from a cast of thousands, but from just a handful of people who are qualified, competent, dedicated, and who deliver the goods on time. And I had that. In particular I know of nobody else with the ideal blend of experience, expertise, and access to facilities that Arthur has, and it is especially fortunate that he also had the time. The opportunity to bring all these elements together doesn't occur every day.

AM: As far as the Astrological Association is concerned, it has always greatly valued the scientific approach to the problems of astrology, and indeed it was founded 20 years ago with this in mind. It has long been the intention to compile into one publication the best of scientific astrology and astrologically-relevant science. Unfortunately the effort required to do this properly has so far been beyond our means. Hence when Geoffrey appeared with a project which, when extended, coincided precisely with our own, the Association's most active researchers were quick to participate. After a massive expenditure of effort, most of it Geoffrey's, the result is a review that has exceed our best expectations.

GD: I should point out that while the book may be a start, it is certainly not exhaustive -- there must be countless books, journals and astrologer's files that remain untapped. In principle an exhaustive review presents no problems; it would merely require perhaps 20 man-years of work throughout a dozen countries. As a private venture this is clearly not feasible. But given the financial resources of, say, the AFA, it could already have been done several times over. It seems to us that any major expansion in the book's coverage (as opposed to updating) will necessarily depend on the availability of such resources.

PH: The book seems quite comprehensive already. Is major expansion likely?

AM: We estimate that about 75% of the relevant astrological literature in English has been covered, but less than 20% in other Western languages. So potentially the coverage could expand by 100%.

GD: This of course assumes that the quality of the items missed is as good as those already included. However, the feedback from readers to date suggests that this could be so. In other words, going for exhaustive coverage could really be worthwhile.

PH: What were your initial goals in Recent Advances?

GD: To review the literature. The average astrologer is totally unaware of the vast amount of useful information that is hidden away in journals.

AM: Here, "review" sounds very simple. But in fact it includes summarising, checking, co-ordinating conclusions, describing relevant techniques, suggesting areas needing research, and so on. So there are many spin-offs.

PH: Why did you do Recent Advances alone?

AM: You could say that the road to stagnation is paved with committees.

GD: We didn't want any concessions to sales appeal, popular taste, or whatever. For once astrology had to come first. Which is not what publishers want to hear.

PH: What qualifies you, astrologically or otherwise, to undertake such a project, particularly as a "final arbiter" of the data?

GD: The book covers such a huge field that no one person could possibly do it justice. Hence there were 52 collaborators -- hopefully between us we got it right.

AM: In any survey of knowledge it is far more important to know the right questions and the right people, than it is to attempt to get all the right answers.

GD: The book was a group effort which depended as much on others as on me. In particular, Arthur worked with me through all stages of the recyclings. As each chapter was finished it went to him and corrections were recirculated among the collaborators until everyone was happy. This process is never quick (the introduction went through about 20 different versions) but hopefully the end result justifies it.

AM: With specialized topics, such as the work of Nelson or Gauquelin, an initial draft was sent to them for comment. After it came back, their comments were incorporated, and returned with any queries that arose. The process was then repeated until everyone was happy: Usually there were several recycles. The record is about about 10 recycles and $US30 in postage for a total of about 2-3 pages.

GD: As regards being the final arbiter, there was very little to arbitrate because there were no limitations on space, and hence the problem of choice rarely arose. In any case, everything was checked by several people chosen for their expertise relevant to the topic in question. If a topic was controversial then both sides were given. That way everybody should be happy. We do hope, however, that there will be a full and active debate on the contents. Any shortcoming can then be rectified in the next edition.

PH: To what extent did you consider the opinions of others?

GD: All the time The book was not written in the usual sense. Instead it evolved by progressive recycling among the best astrologers. The first version took about one man-year of my time, filled 200 pages, included all the feedback, and was circulated in whole or in part to 50 collaborators world-wide. The third version took another four man-years, filled 600 pages and is the version now on sale.

AM: Even this is only an interim stage to the next edition. In the book we invite readers to send in comments, information, research results, items missed, anything. This way we hope to make the next edition not only exhaustive but also truly representative.

GD: In other words we want to consider all opinions. All that readers have to do is send them in. The ball is in their court.

PH: The book is typewritten. Why wasn't it properly typeset?

GD: Simply to keep costs down. Overall, the book has been a very expensive undertaking. Nearly $US200 for typewriter ribbons alone, enormous postage, telephone and xeroxing costs (we sent over 500 letters, 9000 xeroxed pages and 10 kg of related paperwork, most of it by air mail), plus three years of office overheads, and so on. And part of the proceeds from sales goes to support research by the Astrological Association.

PH: But at $25 the book is still fairly expensive.

GD: Not really. The average price per page of all new first-edition paperbacks over 50 pages listed by the New York Astrology Center since late 1975 to date, a total of 66 titles, is 4.6 cents. The average price per page of Recent Advances is 4.1 cents.

PH: Has the book changed your attitudes towards astrology?

GD: It is not possible to review astrology fairly without maintaining an impartial attitude towards all views. Our job is not to take sides but merely to get it right. Personally I hardly have any attitudes to maintain other than a complete intolerance of fog.

AM: It seems to us that a critical examination of the evidence is not likely to lead to a wider belief in astrology as currently practised. On the other hand, it opens up many exciting new areas for investigation. It points the way to a new astrology.

PH: Do you think recent studies of astrology are of a higher calibre than older material?

GD: Yes, generally, simply because more technically competent people are becoming interested in astrology and this competence is beginning to make itself felt. For example, astrological research by psychologists may sometimes be deficient in its understanding of astrology, but it is setting standards of investigation and exposition that are unparalleled in astrological literature.

AM: It demonstrates that, despite what some astrologers say, the complexities of astrology are not incompatible with clear and objective inquiry.

PH: In what sense is the book critical?

AM: Yes, critical requires some explanation. Critical reviews are very common in science, and indeed reviews which are not critical are poorly regarded because without evaluation there is chaos. It is quite wrong to regard a critical review as an attack on something. A critical review is merely one in which a high level of evidence is required and in which all the pros and cons are carefully assessed.

PH: What of the future?

GD: We plan to collect previously missed material, and incorporate this with the comments and information generated by the first edition. In other words our aim is a complete literature retrieval, not just of books and journals but also of individual unpublished work. To do this privately is not feasible, hence everything depends on funding.

AM: Once all the past work is covered it can be continuously updated by say an Annual Review of Astrology.

GD: The days of talking are over.

Charles Harvey interviewed by Michael Erlewine in 1985
Abridged from Talking with Charles Harvey, Astro*Talk 1985, 2(2), 1 and 15-18. Erlewine was the editor, and Harvey was the president of the UK's Astrological Association. The interview was conducted in person.

ME: Can we ask you to talk a bit about Geoffrey Dean, about how you met him, how he showed up at your door.

CH: His mother happened to live a few miles away from my house. He was involved in astrology, and he came to visit the research section library, which is at my house. Later he said "Well look, there is all this amazing wealth of literature, but no one has a clue what anyone else has done. You open a journal, and the article that has references doesn't exist. Only one article in ten refers to the work of others."

We then realised we were on to something else. The concept of Recent Advances was to bring together all possible work that had been done on astrology, of any kind, not necessarily critical, but attempting to see how astrology works, trying to understand better the principles behind astrology. So began the most extraordinary marathon you will ever witness. He would arrive at 8 in the morning and leave at 10 at night. You would offer him a cup of tea. No, he didn't drink tea. You'd offer him coffee, no; lunch, no; anything, no. And for twelve or fourteen hours at a stretch he would be taking notes, taking notes, taking stuff away to xerox, taking notes, taking notes. I have never seen someone work with such 100% concentration and dedication.

He realized that the first thing we had to do was to contact as many people as possible. So we put out feelers. The Association already had a very good network of contacts with all the main European and American astrologers. We started writing and started a dialogue with every key person we could find. What did they know of that we hadn't got? And we would circulate the text that we had already. Recent Advances grew from an eight-page leaflet to a six-hundred-page work.

ME: Do you know that he is a very controversial figure here in the states? Why is that? Why did some Americans, and I'm not sure it's just Americans, have such difficulty with his book? What is your summation of that?

CH: I think the summation of it is that Recent Advances is a wonderful book if you take it as a reference work. It is a poor book if you take it as a book to give you anything to do with the quality of astrology. It is very dehydrated. It tells you the facts and figures that [in astrology books] are very few and far between.

ME: So you're saying it does not capture the spirit of some of the work.

CH: It did a job that needed doing. Astrology had to catch up with the 18th and 19th centuries in one fell swoop. But facts without values don't really amount to very much. Somehow it squeezed out the very thing that astrologers love and which draws people to astrology.

ME: So we are to take it as an imperfect work, and be thankful for what we have got.

CH: I think where it deserves absolute 100% marks is that people have been talking about this [need for a scientific survey] for years and years and years and we still talk about it, but Recent Advances has gotten down and done it. In the whole of our community here, we never managed to do that.

Geoffrey Dean interviewed by Rudolf Smit in 1989
Abridged from Exclusief vraaggesprek met Dr Geoffrey Dean, Astrologie in Onderzoek 1989, 4(2), 2-7. The interview was conducted in person and was translated into Dutch. What follows is from the original English.

RS: Recent Advances resulted from a tremendous joint effort by many collaborators. Are Arthur Mather, and all those other people, still helping you with RA2, the extension and update of RA?

GD: Oh yes. They are either helping or waiting in the wings to be called upon. And they are absolutely essential -- the field is too big to be adequately assessed by any one person. Far too big!

RS: When RA was finished, were you, at the time, still a believer in astrology?

GD: When RA was finished we had sorted through an enormous amount of information and evidence, some of which seemed very promising and some which seemed not promising. So we were simply open-minded, perhaps more open minded than when we had began. When we began we certainly were believers. At the end we were more critical, but we were still hoping that new investigations would produce marvels. So in general we were still believers.

RS: When the book came out, what kind of response did you get?

GD: It certainly aroused a lot of controversy. Some astrologers jumped up and down in outrage, but others jumped up and down in sheer pleasure. Those astrologers who are generally useful to advancing astrology are still more than eager to talk to us. But those who seem to have very little to contribute are the ones who are not wanting to talk, so in fact we are not missing very much. Also as time goes on, you discover more and more people waiting in the wings who have a great deal of interest and expertise, and they are very willing to come to your help. So, yes, some people won't cooperate, but there are many more who do, and in the end you are better off.

RS: You said, a lot of people were waiting in the wings. Did they all come forward by themselves?

GD: Yes, that was one very pleasing aspect of the book. People we had never heard from before, wrote to us and said: "Look, this is really interesting stuff. Can I send you results of my own research?" Or they had comments on some of the work in RA, or they had suggestions to make, and they did this quite voluntarily. So we had lots of useful interesting material coming our way, purely spontaneously from these people, and that was very encouraging.

RS: But now of course the crucial question. Did people generally come with something of real value -- perhaps a beginning of a breakthrough?

GD: Yes and no, because it was mixed. Some people came forward with unfinished work, so they did not know what the outcome would be. Others had produced what seemed like positive results, while others had produced what seemed like negative results. In each case we were able to examine the data more rigorously to see if they had missed something. So overall the studies were neither for nor against. They were mixed. But we can certainly say that many of them were exceedingly interesting. Incidentally, in many cases the person had not considered their study worth publishing. So we are able in the update to present work which is unpublished, but well worth knowing about.

RS: I have the strong impression that the update has been deferred and deferred, simply because so much is coming forward now. Am I right?

GD: Again, yes and no. Unlike RA, the update looks at many new things, for example new areas which weren't covered in RA, and material which was missed in RA. These things require a completely different approach. In RA you simply looked at what already existed, summarised it, and that was it. But for RA2 you must first find what you have missed and that takes time. It takes time also to survey areas which haven't been surveyed before. For example, no survey exists of human judgement biasses in astrology, so you must create your own by spending several months in a university library. And there is a third reason, perhaps most important of all, why the update should be so long in coming. Having surveyed the field in RA, one can see certain areas which hold a great deal of promise, but which still contain gaps. For example, John Nelson's work on radio disturbance, Donald Bradley's work on Jupiter and rain, the Vernon Clark experiments, and so on. So these gaps have to be filled, either by ourselves or by other people, and this takes a great deal of time. Which is why the update is taking so long. But when it arrives I can guarantee it will be worth waiting for.

RS: Well, I assume that because of all this you are the person with the widest overview of what is going on in astrological research today.

GD: I would hope not! For the simple reason that all the important research is now published in magazines like Correlation and APP. So anyone who reads these will have as good a view as anybody of what is going on. Perhaps the only thing I have which may be special is a huge file of stuff gathered from dusty drawers around the world. But these are usually gathered from times before computers and rigorous tests so they are not quite as useful and convincing as the later work.

RS: Now, what is your idea about the future of astrology?

GD: To speak of the future of astrology is difficult if we do not break astrology down into its various components. Take that part of astrology which is purely the helping part and operates very well irrespective of whether it is true or not. For example, we might discuss with a friend his problems in a consoling or warm or reassuring manner. So he might get a lot of help from our conversation, even if all we said were lies. So that part of astrology is independent of all this research work.

Now take that part where your astrology is required to be true. Here the research results are not promising at all, so you may have to change your tune. Now take that part where astrology is simply an interesting social phenomenon Here again of course it makes absolutely no difference what the research results are like.

So you can see that the future of astrology depends on how you define it. One would imagine that whatever happens, the changes in the actual public image of astrology will be rather slow. So the future of astrology is not measured by the difference between today and tomorrow, but by the difference between this generation and the next. And I think the work that researchers are doing will have more impact on the next generation than on this one.

Of course it is always easy to criticise. Do you remember the follow-up study that you and I did on the Pluto research data of Terry Dwyer? After weeks and weeks of work we thought we had finished, only to find loopholes requiring even more weeks of work.

RS: It was in 1987 when I was still in Perth before my return to the Netherlands. I did the computing and you did the analysis. There seemed to be always one more thing to check, just to be sure we had not missed anything. It seemed to go on forever.

GD: And that was just on someone else's data after they had done all the spadework! So you can imagine what it's like when you have to do everything. If you still have time for things like watching TV or going to the cinema, then you are not doing it properly.

RS: And despite our trying again and again to find something positive, we still ended up with nothing. So people accused us of trying to demolish astrology, as if the results were all our fault. It's like killing the messenger for bringing bad news.

GD: People seem to think that we delight in negative results. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Continuing negative results are difficult to publish, there is nothing to win you recognition, and nobody will give you any money. So apart from wasting your time, they guarantee that you will end up starving in obscurity. To say that people like us delight in that sort of thing is rather curious.

RS: I agree. Final question: You have been working with astrological research now for some fifteen years. Aren't you getting fed up with it?

GD: Hopefully one can never fed up with astrology. It brings you into contact with an area of interests which extends, on the left, from astronomy to, on the right, psychology. It is in fact limitless. And in those fields there are some very interesting and most able people. So although the response of astrologers is sometimes disappointing, the response from others more than makes up for this. Indeed, many scientists who are usually much maligned by astrologers, turn out to be more open minded and more even in their response than the astrologers themselves. It is this and the chance to find out what is really happening, which makes research in astrology such a continuing interest.

Status of RA2 in 2013
Work on RA2, the long-planned update of Recent Advances, has been in progress for twenty-five years since 1978. Unfortunately the hoped-for funding and astrologer support did not eventuate, which together with the need to fill gaps has made progress slower than hoped. On the other hand, most of the work has already been published on this website.

In print, the work that comes closest to RA2 is the book Astrology under Scrutiny published in July 2013. It contains updated and expanded versions of the best material from this website. The compilers were Dean, Mather, and eight others. Its 201,000 words cover everything that the seeker of facts about astrology could possibly want including summaries of the best 110 articles from 27 years of Dutch research, a memorial tribute to Michel and Francoise Gauquelin, and meta-analyses (of hundreds of empirical tests, thousands of time twins, millions of sun signs).

Astrology under Scrutiny
Like Recent Advances, it has the contents on the back cover for easy reference.

Astrology under Scrutiny also covers the astrological literature, history of research, polls of astrologers, prize competitions, symbolism, intuition, psychic ability, astrology as divination, role of non-astrological factors, lessons for astrology (from graphology, palmistry, the Tarot, alchemy, phrenology, wrong charts that work), use of astrology in counselling, how astrology was discovered, the future of astrology, and more. For comparison the main topics covered by Recent Advances were zodiacs, signs, houses, rulerships, planets, non-planets, aspects, angularity, and cycles. Note how the focus has changed from chart factors to human judgement biasses and statistical artifacts -- the former have become largely meaningless in the light of the latter. If nothing else, Recent Advances and now Astrology under Scrutiny have shown how lighting candles is more productive than cursing the darkness.

Click here for details of Astrology under Scrutiny.

Birth Time of Recent Advances?
Recent Advances evolved over numerous stages, none of which can be clearly identified as the starting point, so there can be no birth time in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, because they were open-minded about astrology, Dean and Mather made a special effort to accurately time the moment when the material book took on an independent existence, namely the official handing over of the camera-ready copy to the printers, details of which are revealed here for the first time. To ensure that the printing would be in good hands, Dean and Mather had just completed a tour of the printing works taking nearly an hour, on a date set by the printers (it was a Monday), so the timing was not in any way pre-determined. The handover occurred at 9:56.4 am BST (8:56.4 am GMT) ± 0.1 minutes on 3 October 1977 at Camelot Press, Shirley Road, Southampton, 50n55 1w25. At that moment Uranus was barely two degrees below the Ascendant, Saturn was four degrees before the MC, and Jupiter was moderately elevated in 8th whether by Placidus or Equal House. The strongest planet by aspect was Neptune, being sextile Sun and Pluto and in a T-square opposite Moon and square Venus.

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