Last week, an article in the British papers concerned the fact that medical scientists, usually so dismissive of anything smacking of astrology, were studying the work of a British astrologer named Nicola Smuts.
Smuts makes the extraordinary claim that she can help those women with fertility problems to conceive – even if they’ve failed at IVF – by divining special astrological times when women are most likely to get pregnant.
Smuts, who is the granddaughter of Jan Smuts, the former South African prime minister, has a string of successes, even among clients who were initially skeptical. For instance, Mandy Parry, a teacher from Bristol, had undergone seven failed attempts at infertility treatment and was 46 besides – when fertility has largely waned.
During a consultation in June, Smuts told Parry that the next good time for her to conceive was just six weeks away in August.
Although Parry didn’t believe her, she followed her advice anyway, as she was trying anything at that point. She was stunned to find that, as Smuts had predicted, the IVF treatment worked that time, and Parry gave birth to her daughter Violet in last May.
Similarly, a hard-nosed chemist and science writer named Catherine Blackledge, also a victim of five failed IVF attempts, got pregnant and gave birth to a daughter Willow after following Smut’s advice.
“I wouldn’t have imagined going anywhere near astrology,” Blackledge said.
Smuts says that her system has nothing to do with sun signs but the movements of the planets. Astrologers maintain that a woman’s optimum time for conception occurs when certain of the planets — notably Venus and Jupiter — are most closely aligned to their positions at the time she was born – a situation that only occurs two or three times a year.
To date, conventional science only recognizes the effect of the moon on women, in that women’s menstrual cycles generally follow the moon’s 28-day cycle.
Nevertheless, Pat Harris, another British astrologer, recently carried out research showing that when other planetary configurations are taken into account, a woman can boost her chances of becoming pregnant by 14 per cent.
Intrigued by these results, researchers at Shady Grove Fertility, an American chain of IVF clinics, are putting Smut’s system to the test by supplying her with the birth details of hundreds of their clients and asking her to work out the most promising times for them to conceive. The clinic plans to carry out a study next year examining whether the patients indeed get pregnant at the times deemed to be most favorable.
A set pattern
Although an obscure branch of science called chronobiology acknowledges that solar activity has a profound effect on the human body — particularly the heart and brain — increasing evidence has begun to show that the other major planets — Saturn, Venus, Jupiter and Neptune — also have an effect on us, both at the time of birth and on a daily basis.
The planetary configurations at birth appear to set a pattern that affects us for the rest of our lives.
Dr Michael Nitsche, of the Institute Z & S in Grosselfingen, Germany, has carried out a body of research showing that the fluctuations of the closest planets to earth — the moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — profoundly influence us at the time of our births in forming the structure of human intelligence and the stability of psychological processes.
Nitsche once examined the positions of these major planets at the time of birth of 186 children. Despite some variations, his results show a correlation: children with a higher intelligence were born during a time when the planets were more in harmony and stabilizing.
During certain word tests with the children, Nitsche also found an association between children unwilling to take risks and birth dates during times when the major planets were especially harmonious.
Those born when the planets were in close accord seemed likewise to prefer accord in their lives.
His model also suggests that psychological instabilities and crises are triggered by these planetary fluctuations.
Accidents and deaths
For a doctoral thesis, American researcher Sara Ridgley chose to examine whether industrial accidents have any relationship to planetary positions by studying 1023 injured employees who’d been disabled for at least three months. She discovered that victims tended to be significantly more accident-prone when the sun was transiting its position at the time of the person’s birth, or on his birthday, or during certain ‘harmonics’ — three, six and nine months after his birthday.
In a survey of the deaths and birthdays of nearly three million people, David Phillips, a sociology professor at the University of California at San Diego, also discovered a connection between a person’s fate and the planetary configurations around birthdays, finding that men tended to die more often at around the time of their birthdays.
A resonance effect
Michael Nitsche theorizes that planets influence us through a resonance effect; the giant wave frequencies created by planets when they orbit cause the weak fluctuations in gravity, which in turn has an effect on human beings, who are, after all, energy systems, too.
In a sense, the rotating planets are all giant oscillators (vibrating entities) that create huge vibrations throughout the cosmos. The vibrations of these gravitational fields lead to higher vibrations in other planets and ‘open’ (fluctuating) biological systems like us.
“A metaphor for this is the formation of waves through movements of the air over the ocean,” says Nitsche. “The powerful masses of water on top of the deep ocean can be compared with the constant gravitational field of the earth. The small waves can be compared to the fluctuation of the planetary gravitational field.”
Nitsche hypothesizes that these planetary fluctuations have a lifelong effect on the structure and stability of the human brain, particularly during the period during birth, when the brain is first developing and synaptic connections are being formed.
Consequently, we develop a lifelong association with the planetary configurations that occur at the time of birth.
According to Frank McGillion, a member of the Research Colloquium on Astrology from the University of Southampton in the UK, there is a scientific explanation for these findings. The electromagnetic fields and levels of light during the time of our births are thought to affect our pineal gland, affecting our levels of melatonin, which influences many elements of our lives, besides the sleep-wake cycle: for instance, the vascular system of the brain, the endocrine system (which would influence fertility), and also emotions and mood.
Many of these factors, in turn, determine our subjective response to the effects of electromagnetic fields on our body and brain from all sources, including the planets, for the rest of our lives.
“This could also predispose and/or cause an influence on our mood and other states of consciousness on a day-to-day basis,” he says.
“It’s just possible the positions of certain planets at the time of birth could — to a greater or lesser degree through the perinatal actions of melatonin — influence our development and behavior from the time of our birth.”
To me this suggests that we must develop greater appreciation of the fact that we maintain a complex interrelationship with our world as one giant superorganism. Rather than a discrete entity, living things and the earth itself are energetic systems dependent upon other outer forces – gravitational and geomagnetic.
As Franz Halberg once noted, we must be viewed as “a magnet, living on the Earth, a larger magnet, in the atmosphere of the sun.” Even when we’re trying to become pregnant, we must look to the heavens for help.