Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Correlation does not always imply causation - sometimes it might...

Astrologers these days tend to reject the idea that the planets exert direct "energy" upon humans on Earth. Cause-and-effect astrology has become terribly unfashionable. In books written around a century ago though, it was common to see descriptions of "planetary rays" affecting life on Earth. I suppose vitriolic criticism from the skeptical brigade put paid to that. Modern astrologers use other explanations, less open to ridicule, to try to explain why astrology works. Resonance with, or reflection of planetary movements and cycles; synchronicity; or plain "don't know" are now the responses most astrologers favour. I retain, from personal experience, suspicion that movement of certain celestial bodies, or the area of celestial "atmosphere" they mark and travel in, might have some direct physical effect on humans - on this human anyway.

When Mars transits through Aquarius, and within around 5 or 6 degrees of my natal Sun, it has seemed to affect my sleeping pattern. I'll go to bed tired, fall asleep quickly but wake again after about 90 minutes, only to toss and turn, wide awake for most of the early hours. It's something for which I've found no other explanation. More than once I've noticed the pattern, looked up position of Mars and found it close to natal Sun. What happens, in my case, is not just a random bad night or two, the effect continues with peculiar regularity for at least a week, keeping the same pattern for several days, then gradually wears off. Hand on heart - I do not keep regular check on planetary positions in relation to my own chart, that's not my way of using astrology. I haven't ever been waiting for, or expecting this pattern to recur.

I've also noticed that when the Moon is full...yes, I can already hear husband chuckling, I have been known to become over-emotional. My natal ascendant is in Cancer, ruled by the Moon, which could be significant. I don't actually keep tabs on where the Moon is day by day, so this effect is no self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not noticeable at every single Full Moon, but enough times for me to suspect a pattern.

So, if these two instances mean anything, it could be indicating some kind of physical effect exerted upon humans, or on some of us, at certain times, related to movement/position of some celestial body. Note that I did write "could" and "some"!

Blinded by Starlight by Frank McGillion sits in a prominent place on my bookshelves. There's a post about the book from my early blogging days HERE.
From that post, an extract from Garry Phillipson's review:
"The book's central thesis is as follows -

The pineal gland is an important factor in the way we perceive the world and act in it; the pineal produces its effects by secreting melatonin; it has been demonstrated in laboratory conditions that magnetic fields and exposure to light affect the production of melatonin; therefore anything which affects light levels or changes magnetic fields on Earth (which of course includes some celestial phenomena) may be linked to human character and behaviour; if scientists were less blinkered they would pursue research into correlations between celestial and terrestrial influences; the pineal gland is a promising place to start such research, because by examining responses in the pineal to celestial phenomena we could, so to speak, cut out the middleman - avoiding the need to isolate significant behaviour patterns in large groups by going directly to (some of the) causes of that behaviour - light and magnetic fields, and their effects on the pineal..........................."

Using the book's index, searching under "Mars", a few interesting points emerge. In alchemy, Mars traditionally links to iron, silver to the Moon. In chemical experiments, when solutions of silver salts are mixed with solutions of iron salts, iron displaces the silver from solution because it is more active chemically. However, when Moon and Mars come into certain degrees of angular contact the reaction appears to slow down.......the author writes:
" what are we to make of this. If these experiments are accurate, and the planets are in some way altering the chemistry of metals in 'sympathetic' manner, it would quite literally transform our view of things.......Many have reported positive results that appear to justify the claim that there's some mechanism whereby planets can seemingly influence the chemical activity of metals in solution, be it subtle planetary rays, an unconventional, or hitherto unknown form of electromagnetism, some sort of symbolic correspondence, or wishful thinking."

So ... could there perhaps be some kind of knock-on effect on the pineal gland function, connected to the Mars/Moon position - a slight reduction in melatonin production for a time ?

Then.... from Wikipedia's page on the subject of melatonin, it appears that this is a significant ingredient in the regulation of sleep cycles.

Treatment of circadian rhythm disorders

Exogenous melatonin taken in the evening is, together with light therapy upon awakening, the standard treatment for delayed sleep phase syndrome and non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome. It appears to have some use against other circadian rhythm sleep disorders as well, such as jet lag and the problems of people who work rotating or night shifts.
Taken 30 to 90 minutes before bedtime, melatonin is put into the blood earlier than the brain's own production and acts as a mild hypnotic.
A very small dose taken several hours before bedtime in accordance with the phase response curve for melatonin in humans (PRC) doesn't cause sleepiness but, acting as a chronobiotic, does advance the phase slightly and is additive to the effect of using light therapy upon awakening."

There are diverse pieces of a puzzle here which could be capable of being put together in such a way as to give a reason for my wakefulness when Mars (or the area of atmosphere/time/space marked by planet Mars) is close to astrological position of my natal Sun. These thoughts would leave me open to ridicule among skeptics, I guess. Never mind. A bit of ridicule never did anyone any harm!

(Note: The above is an edited and re-hashed combination of two archived posts from 2009)


mike said...

Correlations can be a beast! My GiGi was sick all day yesterday and it seems to correspond to eating a particular dog treat (pure dehydrated beef liver made in the USA). She's had this treat a couple of times at a neighbor's house in the last several months...I finally relented and bought a bag for her a couple of weeks ago. Both times she's received a treat from this bag, she's become sick the next day. Fortunately, she recovers within 24 hours each time.

It also correlates to Mercury's direct motion in Aquarius AND Venus & Mars into Aries. Hhhmmm! LOL!

Interesting correlation you make with your sleep deprivation, Twilight. You state, "... because iron is one of the major factors required for the production of melatonin...", but I'm not sure how you are connecting iron as a factor in melatonin production.

I take melatonin and magnesium primarily for better sleep and the combo has certainly helped that problem, but both have beneficial roles in other physiological functions, too.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - You might want to track Mars' angles to your Sun, too. I would think an opposition would be tiring...squares as restless sleep. You said you didn't really follow the planets on a routine basis, so I doubt you have a previous accounting of these angles to your Sun. Just a thought.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Poor GiGi - she's been going through it recently! I'm pleased to know you've now spotted the culprit.

Re the iron-melatonin thing (I've probably managed to get my knickers in a twist here) :-)

From the first quote:

the pineal produces its effects by secreting melatonin; it has been demonstrated in laboratory conditions that magnetic fields and exposure to light affect the production of melatonin; therefore anything which affects light levels or changes magnetic fields on Earth (which of course includes some celestial phenomena) may be linked to human character and behaviour;

I must have had the (mistaken) idea that iron links to changes in Earth's magnetic fields, I guess.
Or maybe I read something elsewhere which led to that supposition. I agree this isn't a good supposition.

I'd best amend the post. (Thanks for pointing that out)

What I should be looking for is how the position of Mars (or iron) might be involved in, maybe, reducing the production of melatonin at certain times (possibly connected to position of Moon (light/silver), and if those times correlate with the time Mars is close to my natal Sun.....head spinning!

Thanks for the idea - I shall try to remember the next time I have a succession of restless sleep nights to check angles.

mike (again) said...

Re GiGi...I didn't intend to imply that I had it solved. She's a poster child for correlations that don't apply...LOL. It was two years ago in February (February correlates!) that she almost died twice. She has allergies and fleas (flea bites correlate!) give her flea bite dermatitis, although I give her oral flea control. She's a Yorkie and her long hair correlates to itchy-scratchies, which is reduced when I severely cut her hair. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Correlations are just that, correlations...doesn't mean that the correlation is valid toward a solution. Some are and some aren't.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Ah - well the "culprit" I understood you'd discovered was the particular type of treat she'd eaten, rather than any astro stuff. :-)