Note: This article was published in the Horary Practitioner Volume 9, Issue #24. Just Us & Associates, 1998
The problem with predicting the outcome of sporting events is not a lack of models. The problem is selecting which model to use for a particular sport, or even a league or set of games within a sport. The purpose of this article is to show some of the parameters you can consider in this process, bearing in mind that our models for sports are also our models for war, which in turn is the archetype for all confrontational situations, like lawsuits, criminal court cases, negotiations, and arbitrations.
Consideration #1: Horary vs. Event Interpretation
Since most of us who do Interrogatory Astrology began as horary astrologers, there is always the temptation to approach these problems primarily as a horary matter. This is not necessarily the best method, although there are times when it is the only one possible.
In the horary method, the Querent is taken as a partisan, even if s/he is actually a fan. Thus, if my team is the Florida Marlins, and I ask if they/we will win the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, then the Marlins will be given by the 1st House (my team), and the Indians by the 7th House (the enemy team). I should now be able to evaluate the relative strength of the two Significators, and thus determine the outcome.
This method is perfectly fine, except for one small issue: whether it’s really a horary moment. First, there’s the question of whether the Querent has standing: with potentially millions of people asking this question, why is your version a horary moment, and not someone else’s? Or not a million else’s? To believe that a million different times would all come out to the same answer truly stretches credulity.
Another point is the consideration against asking the same question twice. And this can actually be quite sticky. On Opening Day of the baseball season, commentators are prognosticating on which teams are likely to make it to the post-season. Therefore, in April I can already be asking about whether the Marlins will win the World Series in October, and the question can occur to me (and worse, as a fan surely does occur to me) anytime from Spring Training in February through the League Championships in October. The thing is, I’m not likely to write down the first time the question goes through my brain! So when’s the horary moment? Of course, one could argue that many questions go through a similar, although probably less protracted, process. And the bottom line is: perhaps we need to think far more about this.
So is horary useless in sports? Not at all! But I wouldn’t pin your hopes on getting more than an occasional success out of it, because if you start to use this method for game after game after game, you will almost inevitably lose the angst that produces good questions!
But here’s an example of the question with a twist. This question was asked by one of my students during the National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. The first two games had been played in Cincinnati, and the Braves had won. The reason that the question was worded, “Will the Braves sweep?” was because the Querent could only get a ticket for the third game to be played in Atlanta: if the Braves swept, there would be no third game.
Since she lives in Atlanta, the Braves are her team, so she and the Braves are the 1st House, while the Reds are the 7th House. The ruler of the 1st is Mars, extremely well placed in both Scorpio and its own house, the 1st. Venus, the Reds, is in Detriment in Scorpio, and further debilitated by being conjunct the Ascendant, thereby placing the Reds completely at the mercy of the Braves (see Ramesey, page 180). No question: the Braves win. But do they sweep? For this, I added the consideration that Saturn is in the 5th House. Her entertainment (hence 5th) would be going to the game, and here is the wet blanket Saturn (in Pisces, no less!) Squashing her entertainment hopes. And if this weren’t enough, the Moon is coming to the opposition of Jupiter, ruler of the 5th. I told her to forget about seeing it in person: and the Braves swept.
Notice, however, that in this case the Querent had a definite personal stake in the question. Certainly not as much as the Braves players themselves, but the players don’t really derive that much benefit from a series this short anyway.
Consideration #2: House Considerations
If you read any source written after Bonatti, you would get the impression that there is only one kind of contest: the 1st-7th variety. However, as Bernadette Brady and I pointed out in our work on cricket and the US Superbowl, it’s not quite that easy. Bonatti defined two types of warfare: the open field battle, and the castle or town besiegement. At first, it might seem difficult to envision a sports analogy to a besiegement, but actually, it’s rather easy to characterize the likely candidates.
As we said:
“Castle besiegement may be suspected for any sport where one team holds a trophy or a title and must be beaten in order to lose that title, and where a draw means the title or trophy stays with the holder. When besiegement applies, the holder has an intrinsic advantage over the challenger. The challenger must clearly defeat the holder in order to win the title. The winner is then the champion and holds that title until retirement or loss to a new challenger.
“These are quite different from ‘battle chart’ sporting conflicts which is where a group of teams compete over a season and the top teams play off for the trophy. In that type of contest, the winner of the trophy in any one year does not have any special claim or privileges to the trophy in the next year.”
The key concept of besiegement harks back precisely to the bottom line issue of castle besiegement: if you are the besieged party, you don’t have to win; you have to survive. Survival is actually easier than winning.
Notice also that a besiegement model does not necessarily overlap completely with the concept of home field advantage. In most sports, playing at home gives you an edge: typically, 55-60% of the time the home field team wins, but there are some sports where it can run as high as 90%! However, there are games played on neutral territory: the Superbowl being a prime example. Here, the “home team” is not the one that actually “owns” the field, but the one representing the Conference that won the Superbowl last time. Don’t ask me why this should be such an advantage: I can only tell you that it is.
All models for besiegement entail a substantial advantage for the “holder,” which is either the home field team (the holder of the ground), or the holder of the trophy from last time. Typically, besiegement models have a built-in advantage for the holder of about 60-65%.
In besiegement models, the Holder is the 4th House, while the Challenger is the 1st House. You can refer to our previous article for completely worked out examples.
In open field conflicts, the classic 1st-7th model, there is one critical statement made by Ramesey concerning the allocation of teams:
“Learn thou this, that the Ascendant, and its Lord, and the Planet or Planets therein, or in Conjunction or Configuration with the Lord thereof, of in aspect with it, are to signifie him or them that begin the quarrel or controversie, the seventh, Lord thereof, and the Planet or Planets therein, and in aspect therewith, or with the Lord thereof, or in Conjunction with him, the other, or contrary party.” (Page 179)
Notice that this clearly assigns the 1st House to the party that begins the match. This is further clarified in Ramesey’s discussion of gaming: “… you are to understand that the Ascendant and its Lord are significators of the party that challengeth or beginneth first;…” (Page 186)
What does challenge mean? Well, in most sports, the challenging team is the away team. So what this means is that you have two different ways to establish the 1st House team:
Assign the 1st House to the visiting team, or
Assign the 1st House to the team that opens play.
What’s an example of opening play? In the soccer World Cup, the matches are all played in one country, which means that there’s only one true home team out of at least sixteen teams. However, soccer involves a coin toss, and then the team that wins the toss throws in the ball, which begins play. In this case, you can assign the team that wins the toss, and throws in the ball, to the 1st House.
The analogy in baseball would be this: the pitcher begins the game by throwing the 1st pitch. Which team pitches first? The home team. Therefore, you’re going to have to decide in baseball whether “challenging” or “beginning” is the more fundamental concept.
Once you’ve selected your system, you may still have to play around with the model a bit, because different sports work differently. Examples of the kinds of factors you may need to consider are:
Does combustion affect Significators? In some sports such as cricket, the effect can be devastating. In others, there’s no detectable effect. Another point is that different planets may operate differently when combust. Mercury, being combust frequently, may not be affected at all, while a superior planet may be.
Inferior planets in detriment or fall may not act as one would predict. In some games, Venus in Scorpio acts rather like Saturn in Aries – it produces a good effect for the signified team. Mercury in Sagittarius may produce a neutral effect.
A planet retrograde may not produce an effect – or only on the days when the planet is actually going retrograde.
Another point: these kinds of models work best statistically. The purpose in all sports prediction is to predict the outcomes at better than 60% accuracy, which is the typical winning percentage that you have to beat to make money betting on the games.
Working statistically is a method that most astrologers never do. The best explanation I can give to why this seems to be necessary is that, at this time, we simply have too many factors to analyze: not only do we have the game chart, we have the charts (generally more than one) of each of the two teams, plus the natal charts of all the players and coaches. And the reality is: while we can generally get solar data for the players and coaches, we don’t have full timed data. In any case, to truly analyze a game would require days, and that is simply not feasible when there are fifteen football games next Sunday! So when we work only with the game chart, what we’re really saying is that on average you can predict the outcome from the game chart.
Another point: our models don’t hint at which games are the most “uncertain” in outcome: i.e., which games are less likely to match the model. The clearest candidate would be the point differential between the two teams. Unfortunately, when the projected winner beats the projected loser by a score of 8-1, it’s no more likely to be correct than when the scores are 5-4.
Let’s examine how this kind of system works. We use as an example a football game from 1997 in the last week of regulation play: Buffalo at Green Bay.
I have found that scoring systems are impossible without hard-coding a database. Otherwise, a lot of judgement calls slip through the cracks. Figure 1 is an example for the NFL database that I have designed in Microsoft Access ’97 ™, that is derived from the cricket model that was designed in conjunction with Brady. The chart for this game is also shown.
Let’s walk the data. First, I use the same coding system for all games: 2 digits for the year, followed by a designator for the sport or league, generally followed by either just a game number, or in a game like US football where there are weekly games, a week number, followed by a game number. In hockey, baseball or basketball, where games are either daily (sometimes double headers) or at least several times per week, I just use a game number. On the chart form, an asterisk (*) indicates the winning team.
This data shows that I’m using a castle besiegement model: the home team is given by the 4th House, while the visitor is given by the 1st. From there, the data is input, and scores are assigned. A few notes: Mercury is given in the 10th House, because we applied the Medieval system of 7 degrees from the angle, 5 degrees from Succedent, and 3 degrees from Cadent.
The other visible change from the Brady-Lehman model published is the treatment of Mercury. In studying all games since 1989, it became clear that Mercury in Sagittarius is not a liability, so it was assigned 0 points. Also, it was found that Mercury retrograde is not a liability, so the -1.5 points for a retrograde planet is not counted for Mercury. The final exception is that the home field advantage is not always assigned as 1 point to the home team. The bottom portion of the screen gives past history for each team in each sign, depending on whether the team is playing home or away. If a teams, such as the San Francisco 49’ers, consistently wins on the road, then the home field advantage is reduced to 0. On the other hand, particular teams consistently win or lose at home in particular signs: in these cases, the home team may get an additional point, or have a point subtracted.
Consideration #3: Key Players or First Game Charts
An alternate way to approach predictability is to consider the natal charts of either key players, or the teams themselves, and then use the game chart as a transit. As I mentioned, one of the difficulties of this approach is that often we don’t have access to full natal data, but we almost always have solar data in the major sports, thanks in the USA to the Sporting Authority, and in other countries, to similar organizations that publish player biographies that generally have the birth date and location.
I applied these two methods to a study of the 1993 World Series between Toronto and Philadelphia, using the starting pitcher as the key player. Using a comparison of transits, I got the following results.
What is perhaps the most interesting result of this table is that, when the two methods agree, they call the outcome together. This would suggest a possible betting strategy of only betting when the two techniques agree.
Of course, one Series is not enough to develop any level of confidence. In 1993, I had not yet obtained the 1st Game for Toronto, and so I was relying on the starting pitcher prediction alone, which seemed to work well enough. I have worked this system on and off since the 1990 Series, and it does not always work this well – but there does seem to be an effect.
Consideration #4: An Empirical Approach for Particular Celestial Events
It is also possible to create an empirical model based totally on direct observation of a data set. In this case, the method is to find the demographics of who wins, and compare the winning group the losing group. I will demonstrate some of the ideas behind this for the 1997-98 basketball season, all games played through April 3, 1998.
Figure 2 is the distribution of Moon signs for those games where the home team won.
Figure 3 is the breakout for those where the home team lost.
In comparing the two distributions, we can observe that the away team wins more frequently than the home team when the Moon is in Aquarius. The home team does proportionally better when the Moon is in Scorpio, Gemini, or Taurus; and worse when the Moon is in Pisces. Overall, the home team is winning 60% of the time.
A series of comparisons of this nature can then be combined to produce ad-hoc predictions. Notice that this method does not necessarily predict the outcome of all games. For example, there have simply been more games played with the Moon in Sagittarius: this is reflected by the fact that both the home and visiting teams show an elevation of wins for the Moon in Sagittarius.
This ad-hoc method may be the best solution for games, such as basketball, baseball, and hockey, that are played multiple times per week. There is a tremendous psychological difference between psyching yourself for The Game on Sunday (or whatever day) versus the game today, tomorrow and the day after. When you play sixteen games in a season compared to 160, each game assumes a magnitude of importance that would not be true in one out of 160. This effect is further magnified in a sport such as hockey, in which half the teams advance to post-season play. This is considerably different than when less than 1/4 or 1/8 do – again, the importance of one game during the regular season diminishes.
It’s important to remember that all these astrological predictive methods are based on the rules of war. The bottom line in war is simple: if you fight, there’s a chance you will die. This puts an edge to your attention! This also explains the common observation that it’s easier to predict the outcome of post-season games than regular season ones. In the post-season, players bring their minds and spirit as well as their bodies to the stadium – it’s do-or-die!
When you don’t have the benefit of a true wartime mentality, then often about the only difference you have between yesterday’s games and today’s is the position of the Moon. Therefore, you would expect daily games to be much more lunar in predictive content than weekly games.
Consideration #5: Applying these Methods to Electional
Because of the increased professionalization of sports, we no longer get to elect games. And unlike Bonatti, I am not aware of any of our ranks being employed by their respective armies to elect invasion times. Therefore, the only electional application of these methods is therefore to legal or other conflicts. There are actually several sections in Lilly’s treatment of the 7th House which are tempting to apply directly to electionals concerning confrontation:
“Who shall be Master of the two” (pages 308-309)
“Who shall do best in a suit of Law” (page 369)
“Of two Partners, which shall gaine or doe best” (pages 369-370)
Finding a set of rules to cover which of the parties shall win is the easy part, the hard part is determining which party is the 1st House and which the 7th House!
I find that this issue comes up in three major ways:
A court time has already been set. In this case, there’s not much you can do except to read it as an event, because Dorotheus and others laid down strict rules for who is given by each side according to whether it’s a criminal or a civil case. The only suggestion you can try is that if it really looks grim for your client, to see if your client’s lawyer can delay the case.
A date, time, and possibly place has been established for a negotiation, meeting or arbitration. In this case, you may be able to effect the outcome by either changing the location of the meeting from one lawyer’s office to the other’s, or, if it’s on neutral territory, such as the arbitrator’s office, setting up your client to assume the position of either the 1st or the 7th House party: see below.
You get to elect the date, time (and possibly location) to establish the meeting. In that case, you can follow the rules below to help effect the results you want.
Given the rules we have from Ramesey for defining the 1st and the 7th House parties, we can do certain constructive things to establish one party in either placement given the location for the meeting in question.
If the meeting is at your client’s location, or your client’s lawyer’s offices, it’s considered to be taking place on “home” territory. Generally, this would place your client as the 7th House party. The reverse is also true: if it’s taking place at your adversary’s location, or at your adversary’s lawyer’s offices, your client becomes the 1st House party.
It may be relevant who files the initial papers. When you file first, you are “beginning” the match, hence you assume the 1st House position – if only for the filing.
If the meeting is taking place on neutral territory, then it’s possible to establish your client as either side by engaging in a behavioral definition. Some of the ways to force the house definitions are:
If you want to be the 7th House party, arrive first and pick where you want to sit, so you are established before the other party can arrive. If you want to be the 1st, arrive late.
If you want to be the 7th, allow the other party to speak first. That makes them the party “beginning,” which puts them in the 1st House. Initially, only respond to their statements: don’t start a salvo of your own until later. This reinforces the pattern of the other party beginning the match.
Examine the ruling planets of the 1st and 7th Houses carefully and instruct your lawyer or client to act in a fashion appropriate to the nature of the planet that you want to be their Significator.
Thus, we can use the electional chart not only as a method to pick a winner, but also as a way to provide a strategy for the confrontation itself.
All these methods put us closer to one of the great goals of Classical Astrology: prediction. Whether we work with this field statistically, or on a case-by-case basis, the beauty of this kind of application is that the results are clear, and so we get excellent feedback for our method.
Bonatti, Guido. Tractatus Sextus. Translated by Robert Zoller in successive issues of Astrology Quarterly 62(3): 33-38, 63(1): 15-25, 63(2): 35-45, 63(3): 16-22 (1992-1993).
Brady, Bernadette & J. Lee Lehman. 1997. “12th Century Castle Besiegement in Sports. The Results of a Research Project.” AA Journal May 1997, or downloadable at: http://www.astrologer.com/aanet/ashes.html
Lilly, William. 1647. Christian Astrology. Reprinted in 1985 by Regulus: London. Also available: Just Us & Associates.
Ramesey, William. 1653. Astrologia Restaurata; or Astrology Restored: being an Introduction to the General and Chief part of the Language of the Stars. Printed for Robert White: London. Available from Ballantrae.
Sidonius, Dorotheus. 1976. Carmen Astrologicum, translated by David Pingree. B. G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft: Leipzig. Also available: Ascella: Nottsh.