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On the surface, modern life seems to operate independent of natural cycles. Artificial lighting brightens our long winter nights; we consume out-of-season produce; we order from round-the-clock pizza delivery and pay for it from 24-hour ATMs. Such modern conveniences can lull us into thinking we're living in a solar paradise.

But underneath this cheerful facade of eternal daylight and perpetual summertime, there lurks a primitive sense of real time. Inside each of us is a child of nature who can tell it's actually dark, who knows it's really winter. Scientists have named this internal timepiece the "biological clock," and they call their study "chronobiology."

The Seasonal Clock: DNA or Astrology?

A great deal of scientific research has gone into studying the biological clocks that monitor cyclical behavior patterns in plants, animals and humans. This research has proved that we all respond to the rhythmic cues of seasonal variability.

Numerous tests have shown that there are seasonal changes in our patterns of sleep, alertness, appetite, mood, metabolism, energy level, blood pressure, hormone secretion, sexual activity, sperm count (for men) and the onset of menstruation (for women). You name it—it's all affected by the seasonal calendar, which in turn is determined by celestial rhythms. In other words, human behavior is cyclical, and the cycles themselves are based on the movement of celestial bodies. Sounds suspiciously like astrology, doesn't it?

Scientists say they are not really sure of the mechanism involved. Some claim there is a genetic basis for the biological clock. Most recently, scientists have discovered a "clock gene" inside mice, and they suggest it won't be long before they find a similar gene in humans.

All of this is hardly news to astrologers. For thousands of years, astrology has been operating on an understanding that we are connected to celestial cycles. Long ago, astrologers recognized this cosmo-biological connection in the essential principle: "As above, so below." While the scientists busy themselves with gathering data and devising experiments to find order in the universe, astrology already has a map of the whole territory.

Let's look at examples of how science has "discovered" what astrology already knows. Some chronobiologists have given a new name to the "law" of rhythms that rule our behavior—the chronome, a composite word derived from "chronos" (a Greek word meaning time), "nomos" (rule) and "chromosome" (the structure inside cells that contains DNA). This naming process was previously established in astrology, which identifies time, rule and structure as attributes of the planet Saturn.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Another example is a seasonal health problem recognized by the medical profession as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Known to the layperson as the "winter blues" or the "February blahs," S.A.D. is a catch-all condition for many symptoms that recur in the winter, including sleepiness, depression, lethargy and changes in appetite. In 1984, researchers gave winter depression the official name S.A.D. in the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association.

Astrologically, this makes perfect sense. In 1984, Saturn, the planet of time, was located in the sign that rules medicine and the depths of the psyche, Scorpio. It was also the year that Pluto, the master of deep, dark psychology, entered his ruling sign Scorpio.

The symptoms of S.A.D. are "blamed" on winter, as if there were something "wrong" with a perfectly natural cycle. The real trouble arises from the modern resistance to adapting our behavior to match seasonal changes. Rather than using the more active nature of daylight or summertime as the "correct" model for behavior, we should acknowledge the message of Saturn and Pluto: that darkness and winter are appropriate times to slow down and focus more internally.

Groundhog Day

Another important scientific "finding" involves a mammal commonly used in chronobiology experiments—the humble woodchuck, or groundhog. Scientists like to study the groundhog because its biological clock is so strong that the animal can't be trained to ignore its internal cycles.

Even in the laboratory, where scientists attempt to fool groundhogs with ample food and year-round temperatures of 70 degrees, the animals still begin hibernating right on schedule with their regular annual rhythm. And when do they stop hibernating? According to researchers, right around Groundhog Day in early February.

As we know from astrology, February 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, the time when the Sun is exactly halfway through the winter season and is located at 15 degrees of Aquarius. This is the midpoint between the Winter Solstice (when the Sun is at zero Capricorn) and the Spring Equinox (when the Sun is at zero Aries).

Numerous cultures have recognized this mid-winter date as the time to anticipate spring and make ready for the re-awakening of life. It corresponds to Chinese New Year, and in Celtic tradition, Candlemas. In the northeastern United States, it's Groundhog Day and the beginning of sugaring season, when the sap starts to flow in maple trees.

While we continue living according to the dictates of modern scheduling, we also experience demands from our biological clocks. The contradiction can make us feel pulled apart and alienated. Many of us seek to heal this split by renewing our connection to natural cycles. One of the ways to reset our biological clocks is to consult the oldest form of natural timekeeping on earth—astrology.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Valerie Vaughan graduated with honors from Vassar College, where she studied astronomy and mythology, and has a Master's Degree in information science. She has been practicing, teaching and writing about astrology for 25 years. She is the author of Astro-Mythology: The Celestial Union of Astrology and Myth and Persephone is Transpluto: The Scientific, Mythological and Astrological Discovery of the Planet Beyond Pluto, both published by One Reed Publications.

For more information about Valerie Vaughan, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Valerie Vaughan:

  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   1/22/2005
  • Woman as Lover or Mother: The Venus-Ceres Crisis   5/2/2002
  • Classroom Avengers: The Astrology of School Shootings   3/9/2001
  • When Lightning Strikes: The Shocking Story   12/18/2000
  • Careers in Health Care: An Astrological View   10/4/2000
  • Premature Birth: Astrology and the Ethics of Survival   9/28/2000
  • A Stellar Alignment: Astrology and Chiropractic   7/31/2000
  • The "Age-Old" Dilemma of Aging Gracefully: It's All a Matter of Timing   7/17/2000
  • Between Sky and Mind: The Lunar Link to Sanity   6/10/2000
  • All in the Family: Cloning, Genetics and Astrology   5/4/2000
  • Accidents   4/8/2000
  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   2/15/2000

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