SOTA  (State of the Art) 2015 Conference. Buffalo, NY . October  22 - 25, 2015.

playing gitarsA conference is a conference is a conference right? So thought I before my arrival at Donna van Toen’s SOTA conference.  As a long-in-tooth NCGR professional I attend conferences as often as I am able to afford them and have loved every one.  Yet perhaps because of the tracks associated with the various levels of instruction, all of which are necessary , one did not have the opportunity to experience anything outside the box . In this regard, SOTA  blew the top off of my head from day one!

It is two days’ drive from Halifax NS to Buffalo, so my level III student Emma Boardman and I decided to arrive early , on Thursday . The first preconference speaker was Gary Caton with independent research on the dance of Mars and  Venus. Did you know they have a 300 year pattern together?  I sure didn’t! How cool is it that he is able to demonstrate how various phases of the cycle correspond to different epochs of human experience! Who knew an inner planet could describe  a generational trend!   So how did Gary get here from ‘standard’ Astrology?  He looked at the sky! Like me he is a back yard astronomer and has let this inform his Astrology—to everyone’s benefit.

The other lecture that really stood out for me was that of  Adam Gainsburg, who lectured on his idea that a conjunction of, say , the Sun and Venus with  Venus in front of the Sun must qualitatively differfrom the conjunction when Venus is be-hind the Sun from the Earth’s perspective.How did he come up with this thesis? Helooked at the sky...I’m seeing a trend herefolks! He has a cohesive system of ssment of the planets using astronomicaldata such as rising and setting times,brightness and such, to offer a delineation.I have been in the game since 1978 andthis was the first exact delineation of my Venus. I would never even have heard of him, had it not been for Donna van Toen and SOTA.

This is not to say that you can’t glean wisdom from more ‘traditional’ lectures: I attended Eileen McCabe’s preconference on transits on the first day and Donna’s brilliant lecture on Uranus on the last and in both cases came away richer  in my understanding. As for fun in education, look no further than Franco Soulbury who delighted us with a detective-style horary lecture and also provided the shenanigans—um I mean entertainment—at the main banquet. I have not   space here to mention all the great speakers or to describe in detail the friendly and supportive atmosphere both during the day and in the hospitality suite offered by  AFAN and Astrology Toronto.

On a completely different tack, I was enriched by top drawer instruction in classical methodology , including a game-changing lecture on profections by Maria Mateus, a primer on Vedic predictive technique (dashas) by Ronnie Gale Dreyer , and a simple and clear set of examples on solar arcs by Janet Markham.

I know there were many great lectures I missed, for example, Michael Barwick's fresh perspective on fixed stars—my student Emma could not tell me   enough about it, so I squeezed out a few more pennies (US dollars are dear you know!) to purchase the recording. Many of us were swapping notes from the various lectures— there was such a rich selection!

On Friday evening we had a lovely banquet with keynote speaker Jacqueline Janes. She surprised us all by speaking to the increasing trend toward gender ‘flexibility’ in the world and how it might inform our practice.

Everyone with whom I spoke found the lectures engaging, the company delightful and the size not too big and not too small...we might have to call this the Goldilocks conference! Anyone interested in attending this gem from November 10-14, 2016, please contact Donna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit her website at


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The Difficult Art of Election Prediction

election2015 frontrunners

Allow me to begin by clarifying that I am not a Mundane (Political) Astrologer by trade. I do birth charts, find uncertain birth times and clarify trends in career, personal affairs and such. The only other time I had a go at election prediction was when prompted by a then junior reporter at the Halifax Chronicle Herald and I had a great deal of support from my lifetime teacher and mentor M. Axel Harvey arguably the greatest (and certainly the most unsung) astrologer of his generation. That time we nailed it! It was the Hamm majority way back in the 1990s. All the polls were wrong and we were right! 

This time I am having a go on my own. It is tricky, two of the three candidates have no birth time and in the case of Mr. Harper we have 2 birthdates! The chart of Canada I am taking as 1 July 1867 but there are several other charts that might serve better... the persuit of which could be the subject of an entirely different article. 

Then there is the election chart. The first attempt I made at prediction, I put the election chart at the time the polls open on the 19th of October in Newfoundland, but I set the chart for Ottawa (capital of the country), so 8:30 am in Newfoundland would be 7am in Ottawa. I did a set of predictions during my radio show last week and it arrived at Harper winning but without much “oomph” - so I would say a minority win for Harper.

This upset me quite a bit. I know my opinion is not at play here and I am to interpret and report without bias, but the thought of another round of Harper was more than I could bear! So it goaded me to look at my methodology to find where I may have made errors.

Yesterday I rang up my local elections Canada office and asked a question I had not thought to ask before: “When was the first opportunity to vote in this election?” meaning when was the earliest I could have come into the Elections Canada office and cast my vote in this election? She had to go and research and ring me back – but the answer was “ when we opened on the 2nd of August”. Since that is a Sunday that means noon - and since all Elections Canada Offices open at noon on Sundays, that means noon Newfoundland time – so 10:30 am in Ottawa.

Above is the revised Election Chart., with the three front runners' progressed (present circumstances) charts around it. Please note that Mulcair's chart and Harper's chart are rectified and therefore the AC and MC are untested and that Harper's chart is his earlier birthrate of 20 April as the 30 April “official” chart simply does not in any way describe his personality in my opinion. 

Based on these new data I give Trudeau a slight edge with Mulcair an extremely tight second and Harper neutral to slightly negative. I cannot say in fairness that the Harper chart indicates a loss, it looks more like 'hanging on by fingernails' so I guess it indicates either Liberal minority or Tory minority which the Liberals and NDP could easily fox by forming a coalition... so not a whole lot of news here then folks...  If  you MADE me choose, based on this evidence I would go with Trudeau with a minority., but it's 80:20.   What do YOU see in the charts?

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Financial Gain through Success – Neural Net Results

by Peter Standaart & Mj Patterson of the 'Gators' Research Group


We (Peter Standaart and Mj Patterson) are involved with a group called the AstroInvestigators or The Gators for short. The Gators are led by engineer and astrologer Alphee Lavoie. Alphee brings his engineering skills and acumen to a field which historically had been dismissed as not worthy of study by the larger scientific community. That is why Alphee has developed research software employing statistical analysis and neural network capability, so that serious inquiry may now be made.

The birthchart or horoscope is simply a fisheye photograph of the planets and luminaries (Sun and Moon) around the Earth at the precise moment of a person’s birth. Whereas 4 minutes’ difference causes the chart to vary significantly, the accurate time of birth is necessary for a clean data analysis.  Happily, Lois Rodden has gifted researchers with a huge collection of carefully verified data which now resides at and is known as the AstroDatabank. We only used AA data for this research, meaning exact recorded time.


The purpose of our study is to develop a neural network model which is a collection of astrological significators appearing in the birth charts of people who become wealthy through their own efforts. If we are successful we should not see the charts of people who inherited or married into money, rather only those who became wealthy through their own hard work or invention.



We used Alphee Lavoie’s statistical engine ‘Fast Research’ (previously known as AstroInvestigator) to study and group this data.

Research Data: 

We selected 475 charts from AstroDatabank all of AA quality all tagged with #financial gain through career.

Control Group Data:  

We decided that we wanted a control group which had some chance of not containing charts of wealthy people so we went to the AstroDatabank and selected only charts of people in careers unlikely to bring much income, such as office workers, landscapers, waiters, kitchen help and similar. In total we pulled 477 AA charts and this is what we are using to control results.


Fast Research Settings:
Criteria – Chi Sq 3
Chi Sq 3
Occurrence 17 (roughly 5% of Test File)
Test File: Gain thru success - (473 AA charts from ADB)
Control File: Regular (477 AA charts from ADB)
Model: Standard Only

We set aside 25% of each of these files for use in the Neural Net

If you haven't played with Chi Square before, here is a video introducing the concept. 

Data Verification:

We took a careful look at the initial results to inspect for generational bias. For instance, we noticed that there were 39 instances of Saturn in Aquarius and we needed to see whether that was due to that being an indicator or more to do with the selection of birth years in the data we input for the model. So we looked through the raw data to verify whether we had inadvertently skewed our data by including a preponderance of charts with this value.

The results were encouraging: 44 of 475, or 39 of 355 (after the neural net test group of 25% was randomly removed) were born with Saturn in Aquarius, 10.9% - not statistically significant. So we were reassured that the results bringing Saturn in Aquarius into focus were to do with the neural net structure and not to do with the introduction of skewed data as input.


We got a set of results through the “calculate” function, (this uses the Chi Square statistical analysis to pull results more likely to predict our model) then saved these. We then ran “create neural net” and “learn neural net” and the results were really quite good!

gators research the real astrology

We decided to see what would happen if we improved the confidence (reliability) of the model. We reran the model at 90% and it completed almost immediately! We achieved a neural net model showing good separation at 90% confidence.


The definition of a Neural Network from Wikipedia reads: “In machine learning, artificial neural networks (ANNs) are a family of statistical learning algorithms inspired by biological neural networks (the central nervous systems of animals, in particular the brain) and are used to estimate or approximate functions that can depend on a large number of inputs and are generally unknown. Artificial neural networks are generally presented as systems of interconnected "neurons" which can compute values from inputs, and are capable of machine learning as well as pattern recognition thanks to their adaptive nature.”

It is also called a Black Box model, as Franco Soulbody explains in his similar research into breast cancer, because what happens between the input and output is not known. The Fast Research programme has the capability to take all the contributors from the model based on what occurs often and what occurs seldom and develop a Neural Network which can predict the outcome based on all aspects of the chart.

Here is a YouTube video offering a basic explanation of neural networking


The figures below show how the model behaves for those who made their own wealth and those who did not get wealthy. As you can see, this neural net is a good predictor of wealth and of those who did not become wealthy.

Here is an example of the Neural net ‘black box’ learning from the data what would constitute a strong YES what would be a strong NO and what would be an unclear result known in the program as DON’T KNOW. This ran to 90% certainty – an exciting result!

the real astrology research on astrology

proving astrology

statistical research in astrology

In each of these diagrams, Red is an indicator of YES, Blue of NO and Purple of DON’T KNOW.


Some interesting results arose also when we ran the charts of ‘ordinary workers’ through the same neural net: we got 2 ‘outliers’ shown here below – Alex Haley and Paul von Hindenburg. So we looked up the bios of these two and discovered that they were in fact in the wrong category in that they were both very wealthy by their own efforts.

prove that astrology works

So delightfully, this supports our neural net as they flagged up beautifully for success under that model.
One of the charts in the ‘success’ file was surprisingly low, so we investigated this chart ( Otis Chandler ) to discover that he did not gain his wealth through his own efforts, rather he inherited it from a 6th generation publishing dynasty. This was a delightful verification that the model is specific in its selection of wealth BY OWN EFFORT which is what we had originally postulated.


The purpose of our study was to develop a neural network model which is a collection of astrological significators appearing in the birth charts of people who become wealthy through their own efforts.

This neural net model at which we arrived clearly demonstrates a good predictor for success through one’s own hard work, and not through inheritance, marriage or windfall, to a confidence level of 90%.

In terms of our methodology, we discovered that using standard astrological events as input to the neural network was best. That is to say allowing the neural network to ‘learn’ its own set of aspects and planetary relationships was by far the most accurate methodology and we will be using it going forward.

For a list of the events selected please refer to Appendix A below.


Appendix A – Neural Net Weighted Events

neural net weighted results form 100 down to .54




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The Sun Is Come Up From the South By Oak and Ash And Thorn

Astrologer Halifax Mj Patterson explains the Summer Solstice Horoscope For Halifax Nova Scotia Local Astrology The Summer Solstice happens the same everywhere in the world. Even in Australia and New Zealand, it's the solstice at precisely the same moment.  For them, of course, it is the winter Solstice because at that point in the the year, we up here in the north are hogging all the sunlight.  Yup the Solstice is that moment in the year when the sun climbs to the northernmost point of its travel, appears to pause for a moment, then begins its descent back down south.

So what can we expect for the next six months based upon the Solstice chart? Well the first thing I noticed is that the Moon is Void of Course. A Void-of-Course transit of the moon is a period of time between the last aspect of the Moon while transiting in one sign and the point that the Moon enters the next sign (ingress). The Moon in this chart is at 29 degrees of Leo and 49 minutes. It has just finished squaring (90 degree aspect) Saturn at 29 degrees 35 minutes of Scorpio and is not going to make any more aspects until it arrives in the Sign of Virgo.  This aspect of Astrology is most typically used in Horary Astrology, which is a branch of Astrology wherein a person asks a question, the Astrologer notes down the exact date time and location s/he first hears and understands the question and uses the chart of that moment to answer the question. In such a case, a void of course moon answers with "Nothing is going to happen".  

So how will the void of course moon play out in this Solstice chart?  I think you will see lots of apparent movement in the next  six months, sabres rattling, the EU making rude noises, our own government going through the motions of change.... but until the winter solstice, I will expect nothing of lasting value to occur. Basically, we will have to wait until December for the other slipper to drop.

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New Moon in Taurus Conjunct Algol: Hold Onto Your Hats!

Understanding Astrology and Your Life with Astrologer Mj Patterson

I am taking quite an interest in fixed stars these days, Algol is a fave as I did a third year astrophysics course at Carleton University in Ottawa and Algol was the subject of my astral photography project. An eclipsing binary, it appears to dim roughly every 3 days. It is traditionally associated with strangling and beheadings, as it is the 'head of Medusa' in the constellation Perseus. So.... what happens when the New Moon in Taurus tap dances on Algol's longitude?

Any New Moon offers us new beginnings. It's kind of a monthly "do over" where we get to have a new take on our affairs. But what kind of beginning does a dance with Algol promise?  Here's what the traditionalists say about the Sun and Moon with Algol.

"With Sun: Violent death or extreme sickness. If also in no aspect to a benefic, or there is no benefic in the 8th house, and the dispositor of the Sun in a day nativity or if the Moon in the night one is in square or opposition to Mars, the native will be beheaded; if the luminary culminate he will be maimed, mangled, wounded or torn to pieces alive; and if Mars is at the same time in Gemini or Pisces his hands or feet will be cut off.  With Moon: Violent death or extreme sickness. [Robson*, p.124.]"

To put an extra spin on things, Mercury, at 16 Gemini, turns around and heads back towards the fixed star Aldebran (9 Gemini 47) only 2 days later.  This traditionally indicates delays, setbacks and  rethinking - so that contracts and purchases made during this time often have to be renegotiated or returned with Mercury stations direct on 11 June.  Aldebran has a bit of a mixed message, ... "It gives honor, intelligence, eloquence, steadfastness, integrity, popularity, courage, ferocity, a tendency to sedition, a responsible position, public honors and gain of power and wealth through others, but its benefits seldom prove lasting and there is also danger of violence and sickness. [Robson*, p.120.]"

So my humble suggestion for the next 4 weeks is to expect to feel irritable and tense, especially if your chart has planets or key points in any of the fixed signs  (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) so take things slowly, expect delays and accidents, be gentle with yourself and with others and triple check any deals or contracts you are considering.  If at all possible, put off making a final decision until 11 June and if you must decide, ask every question you can think of before signing and then get a guarantee, even if it costs you extra. Profit from this enforced slower pace by taking time for  earthy pursuits, such as gardening, hugging children or singing. Remember that out of Medusa'a severed head came Pegasus the winged horse and Khrysaor a boy with a golden sword, both strongly hopeful images. So even out of terrible circumstances, good things can come![] 
Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923].

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