The First 32 Harmonics: A Qualitative Research Study by David Cochrane
“Harmonic” is a term that was first used in physics and in music. It has been defined as follows: “A harmonic is a signal or wave whose frequency is an integral (whole-number) multiple of the frequency of some reference signal or wave.” Thus, “for a signal whose fundamental frequency is f, the second harmonic has a frequency of 2f, the third harmonic has a frequency of 3f, and so on … A signal can, in theory, have infinitely many harmonics”8.
In physics and in music, the “reference signal or wave” (the first harmonic) can be of any length. But in astrology we are always talking about the harmonics of a circle. Therefore, in astrology, the first harmonic always has a length of 360 degrees (the whole circle), the second harmonic has a length of 360 ÷ 2 = 180 degrees, and so on. So the second harmonic refers to a signal that occurs (or a wave that peaks) at two points around the circle.
John Addey makes it clear that the concept of harmonics can be applied to all of the circles with which astrologers are concerned: the circle of the Zodiac, the diurnal circle (the circle of the houses), and the aspectual circle (the circle of interplanetary aspects, starting from the conjunction and moving round to the opposition and back to the conjunction again). However, the advances that have been made in the interpretation of harmonics have been almost entirely in relation to the aspectual circle, and so it is with the aspectual circle that this article will be concerned.
Harmonic charts 1 to 32 of 2,885 famous people with Rodden accuracy ratings of A or AA were calculated
and the number of combinations of four or more planets in a harmonic were calculated in the Sirius 1.3
software. The individuals with the highest number of 4-planet harmonic patterns were considered to have
an extremely strong influence of the harmonic.
Biographical information on the individuals with the highest scores was searched for at http://www.wikipedia.org
and an Internet search for other sites was also conducted. If at least several paragraphs of information could
be obtained, then an attempt was made to see if the combination of planets in the harmonic agreed with the
life experiences, motivations, and issues of the person’s life.
For the great majority of individuals the agreement of the expected meaning of the harmonic pattern
and the person’s life was fairly good.
Of the 92 charts, 78 were evaluated to have a moderately good correspondence, 7 had an excellent
agreement, 5 had a poor agreement, and 2 charts were for the 3rd harmonic, which could not be properly
analyzed for reasons described in the study.
The estimation of agreement was intentionally set to be slightly on a skeptical evaluation because of
the ease with which a believer in a theory can rationalize results. The 5 charts that had a poor agreement
led to modification in the interpretation of some harmonics.
The results suggest that a theoretical framework of harmonics and symmetry may provide consistently useful
information. Future research that builds upon the present study is worth undertaking.
Both future qualitative and quantitative studies are recommended. The research methodology employed
in this study is highly recommended for future research. It eliminates most, but not all, of the selection
biases and arbitrariness of data analyzed in the majority of case studies and anecdotal evidence gathered by
astrologers and reported in papers in astrological magazines and journals.
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