While the expression "astrological birth control" could have several referents, it is usually taken to refer to the system discovered and elaborated by the Czech psychiatrist Eugen Jonas. His initial discoveries were summed up by his three fundamental rules—conception, determination of sex, and life capability of the fetus—which he first formulated on August 15, 1956, according to Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder's book Astrological Birth Control:
1. The time of fertility [a second period of fertility, independent of the ovulation cycle] occurs during the same phase of the moon as that in which the woman was born.
2. The sex of the future child will be determined by the position of the moon during the time of the woman's fertility—whether the moon is found in the positive or in the negative field [i.e., in a positive, masculine sign or in a negative, feminine sign] of the ecliptic (or zodiac).
3. Unfavorable distribution of gravitational forces of the nearer celestial bodies at the time of conception produces complications during pregnancy, particularly for the fetus.
These discoveries became the basis for an astrological birth control clinic that, after overcoming much resistance, Jonas was able to establish in Czechoslovakia.
The first rule became the basis for a system of birth control that is basically an elaboration and development of the old rhythm method. Rather than abstaining only during the period of a woman's ovulation, a couple also abstains on (and for several days prior to) the day that the Sun and Moon repeat the exact angle they made with each other at the moment of the woman's birth. For instance, a woman born at the exact moment of the full moon (when, with Earth as the vertex, the Sun and Moon make a 180° angle to each other) would abstain during, and for several days prior to, the full moon. When combined with abstention during ovulation, this modified rhythm method is, according to Czech researchers, 98 percent effective as a birth control method.
Jonas became interested in astrology as a student but kept this interest separate from his profession during the early part of his career. In the mid-1950s, however, neighboring Hungary legalized abortion. This motivated Jonas, a practicing Catholic, to search for alternatives, even in such unlikely subject areas as astrology. According to Ostrander and Schroeder, from the ancient system of Mesopotamian astrology, he found a fragment asserting that "woman is fertile during a certain phase of the moon." No other clues illuminating this statement survived. Using this assertion as a starting place, however, Jonas painstakingly researched birth records until he broke the code of ancient astrological science: A woman is fertile during the phase of the Moon that replicates the phase the Moon was in at the moment of her birth.
Jonas's second rule is based on the Pythagorean notion that odd numbers are male and even numbers female. Hence, since ancient times, the first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh signs of the zodiac (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius) were regarded as masculine, while the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth signs (Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces) were regarded as feminine. The Moon, as the traditional ruler of conception and motherhood, might well have been anticipated as the key to influencing the sex of a child. Using the sign of the Moon at the time of conception, Jonas found he could predict the sex of a child with 85 percent accuracy. This effect of the Moon sign was apparently known to Hellenistic astrologers.
The third rule flows out of Jonas's search for possible astrological factors in miscarriages and birth defects. Jonas found a significant correlation between such complications and the presence of opposition (180°) angles—particularly when the Sun was involved—during conception. While this particular finding has no known correlate with traditional astrology, the negative effect of an opposition aspect in a natal chart (in contrast to a conception chart) has been well known since antiquity. That the Sun, as the traditional ruler of vitality and life force, is involved in such complications is not surprising.
As Jonas's work became established and grew, his center counseled couples in all three of the areas covered by his three rules: birth control, selecting the sex of children, and avoiding birth complications. This work flourished during Czechoslovakia's "springtime of freedom," the country's short-lived experiment with an open society prior to the Soviet invasion in the late summer of 1968. Jonas's center remained in operation another year and half following the invasion before being closed by the government. The doctor was demoted and his work stopped. After the collapse of the iron curtain, Jonas revived his work, though the official website of the Centrum Jonas International indicates that Jonas is living in retirement.
Although most of the relevant research of Jonas and colleagues is contained in untranslated books, pamphlets, and articles, since 1972 the English-speaking world has had the basic information on astrological birth control available to it through Ostrander and Schroeder's Astrological Birth Control. The authors had discovered Jonas's work while researching their popular Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Cur tain. They collected materials on astrological birth control and, having copies of most of the relevant information at the time of the Soviet invasion, Ostrander and Schroeder decided to have the materials in their possession translated. From these and other sources they wrote Astrological Birth Control. (The book is also useful for its overview of scientific research on astrological effects up to 1972.) Enough technical material is included that any competent astrologer can cast an astrological birth control chart, although the authors were careful to include the caveat that they were not recommending the system. The reports from non-iron-curtain researchers who have investigated Jonas's system since the publication of Ostrander and Schroeder's book are mixed; some claim to have replicated his results, while others report disconfirmation. One can find numerous relevant websites by typing Jonas's name into any Internet search engine.
Centrum Jonas International. http://www.centrum.jonas.com.
Naish, Francesca. The Lunar Cycle: A Guide to Natural and Astrological Fertility Control. Brid-
port, Dorset, UK: Prism Press, 1989. Ostrander, Sheila, and Lynn Schroeder. Astrological Birth Control. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972. (Reissued in paperback as Natural Birth Control.) -. Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970.
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