Astrology and western medicine: get the data, and we can talk!

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Twitter can be an interesting place. Especially with publishers doing what they can to generate conversation. This week it was “applying astrology to western medicine.” Certainly, Vedic astrologers use eastern astrology to determine treatments, etc. but having spoken to people who grew up with eastern medicine, they’re all confirmed fans of Western medicine. They place a high premium on survival because from what I could gather, that doesn’t happen as much as they’d like under traditional Vedic care. At the same time I know Westerners who attribute Vedic/eastern medicine with  vast improvement to their quality of life.

Western medicine, on the other hand, runs into issues where illnesses either can’t be diagnosed or where a doctor fails to or for good reasons can’t take into account the domino effect that happens when treating multiple ailments. Where and how a doctor might use astrology in a way that would qualify under “do no harm” outside of surgical scheduling for non-crisis patients mystifies me. Sure, back in the days of Culpepper medical charts with planetary alignments and related herbs were really all we had. But nowadays I cringe to think of even trying to fit that in with the wildfire pace at which medicine is making discoveries. And certainly I use some planetary chart information when making my herbal teas…but I’m much more likely to consult my Physician’s Desk reference, Pubmed and the Herb Book by John Lust. I use these because the remedies have been used often enough that the data is there – these particular guides are based on what works, what doesn’t and what really happens, while astrology takes into account a series of things that might happen. I would hope that with or without astrology, a doctor performing surgery on me would already take into account the way things might go wrong.

Still, though I’m really drawing a blank on possible applications, the data is there to be researched. While I got the usual trope about “oh, we don’t have the money to gather the data to see if astrology applies!” I can tell you that actually a)we have the data – and better yet, it’s blind data since astrology was not being applied and b)if you’re going to contend that astrology is applicable to medicine, you darn well better be willing to risk doing a study or twenty and being proved wrong. Most of us survived the news about Santa Claus, we can handle this. And this isn’t coming from a place of total disbelief: I’m coming from a place of “this particular divination discipline probably does not apply to this particular aspect of life.” I certainly believe in Mercury Retrograde. I won’t let a month pass without reading Susan Miller’s freakishly accurate Astrology Zone.

The only application I can think of is using astrology to schedule a surgery – choosing prescriptions/medicine is the next logical application, and that’s much too risky. As to the surgeries, we have billions of data with dates and times of surgical operations. It’s entirely possible to build an algorhythm based on the surgeries that were successful and to run it to see what astrological points were common to which surgeries. Certainly it’s time consuming, but it would also answer the question about astrology’s applicability quite conclusively. In fact, you’d only need the dates, times and locations of 1000 surgeries. It’s not the stuff of grant writing, but it’s actually very doable.

We’re at a point in occult practices where we do need to start putting our money where are mouths are – and that means raising the funds to do these studies and get conclusive, honest answers about whether alternative therapies work. We won’t always like the answer. We will lose things – but we will also advance ourselves to a new level of consciousness, and that always takes sacrifice.