NVWOA, the Dutch Society for Scientific Research into Astrology was formed in 1971. Its aim is research into the validity and reliability of different types of astrology. As a matter of principle NVWOA takes no stand for or against astrology: research will have to show if and to what extent the validity of astrology can be confirmed.
NVWOA-members are individuals taking a keen interest in astrology, in spite of a fundamental critical attitude. Scientists and astrologers co-operate within this society.
The art of establishing links between the movement of the stars and the planets on the one hand and the human destiny or behaviour on the other, i.e. astrology, stems from hitherto unknown origin.
Astrology is known however to date very far back. Much further in any case than modern empirical science, the base of which were laid in about 1600 A.D.
Astrology therefore is being considered therefore both as an art or craft and as an (exact) science. In academic terms therefore astrology could as well belong to the faculties of theology and art history as to those of (para-) psychology or astronomy. Yet astrology can also be considered and used as an eloquent language. Possibly astrology may even be the key to a more univeral typ of science.
As a discipline astrology recently enjoyed increasing attention and interest. Astrologers extend the application of astrology to such fields as carreerguidance, counseling, staff-recruitment and staff-selection. In those fields a shift can be noticed from quantity to quality much to the satisfaction of the NVWOA.
According to NVWOA the quality of astrological practice could be improved if astrology would also take into account the results of empirical research. In this field the NVWOA tries to assist by encouraging cooperation between astrologers and researchers.
Given the trend towards professionalisation of astrological practice astrologers should prove to be conversant both with methods of research and with results of research undertaken by others in their field of activity.
NVWOA also tries to stimulate interest in astrology with professional investigators, its ultimate objective being to perform (or stimulate) research into astrology through harmonious cooperation between scientists and astrologers.
Research into astrology - why?
One may wonder why scientific research is necessary, many astrologers being much more interested in astrological practice than in critical research. NVWOA however thinks that theory and practice, research and application should join strength. The distinction between research and application is somehow artificial. The astrologer bases his or her statements on the analyses of dozens or hundreds of existing horoscopes.
Horoscopes are compared with each other implicitly or explicitly astrological theory is refined thanks to experience gained through interpreting many horoscopes. In fact the astrologer is performing research constantly.
The only difference from the professional investigator is that the latter builds on a more strictly scientific foundation. In fact there is no absolute but a relative difference between research done by astrologers and scientists.
Yet valid research reguires a solid knowledge in the organisational and methodological approaches towards research and in statistical methodology. NVWOA can make such techniques available to astrologers who would need them.
Much astrological research has been undertaken in the past decades. Results of such investigations arouse conflicting reactions. Some would conclude therefrom that astrology has been proven to be nonsensical or inefficient. Others became convinced that all scientific research in this field proves to be impossible.
Such discussions however often revert to questions of the philosophy of sciences. NVWOA stimulates such discussions and does not shun basic questions such as:
Is scientific investigation into astrology at all possible? And in howfar do astrological statements passes only a subjective value (either for the astrologer or for the client consulting him or her) that cannot possibly be formulated scientifically? Must all scientific approach to this matter therefore remain inefficient?
What science can contribute to astrology
Both astrologers and scientists approach reality in their own way. This however should not prevent one from undertaking scientific investigation. Indeed astrologers often formulate their experiences in terms the validity of which can be tested. Such checking or testing is possible whilst acknowledging basic astrological concepts.
There are cases, though, in which astrologers pronounce statements that defy scientific verification. In such cases it is difficult to formulate research-hypotheses covering the full content of such astrological statements.
Scientific research therefore will have its limits in as far as it will not be able to define the validity of astrology as a whole. The personal significance that is to be attributed to astrological statements in the field of guidance and counseling has very much a value of its own.
Now not all astrologers practice counseling- every astrologer, though, is an expert in experience; he or she first and foremost let himself be inspired by his or her astrological knowledge and experience. But the astrologer may well take an interest in the degree in which colleagues share his or her empirical knowledge. Can patterns and principles be established out of such comparison? Scientific research puts the same question, the advantage there however being that science supplies personal experience with a generally accepted framework.