ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Astrology and the Melatonin Hormone

Updated on December 12, 2017
Thomas Swan profile image

Dr. Thomas Swan studied cognition and culture at Queen's University Belfast. He's researched a range of psychological traits and disorders.

The planets may not determine our psychology, but something else may play a seasonal role.
The planets may not determine our psychology, but something else may play a seasonal role. | Source

What can astrology tell us?

To scientists, astrology is regarded as a puerile ancestor to scientific methodology. When astrologers attribute psychological dispositions to planetary locomotion, they are making groundless assumptions that would be more at home in a religious sermon. However, farcical explanations are no reason to dismiss the veracity of the preceding observations.

It may be that there are times in the year when babies are born with particular personality profiles. If this were the case, the findings of astrologers could provide a useful starting point for neuroscientists to unravel a more lucid account of the phenomenon. It is the purpose of this article to show why such an endeavor could prove fruitful.

The melatonin hormone

Melatonin is a powerful hormone that is secreted by the human brain. The diversity of its application is astonishing, with potential uses including the treatment of obesity, Alzheimer's, epilepsy and cancer. According to Professor Reiter of the UT Health Science Center, “melatonin likely functions in every cell with which it comes in contact”. For example, experiments show that melatonin can reduce body weight and fat levels in animals by increasing the metabolic rate. It does this by generating heat in the body through chemical reactions.

Recent Melatonin Research

Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland (red), which is located at the base of the brain.
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland (red), which is located at the base of the brain. | Source

Of present interest is the seasonal variation in melatonin levels that we all undergo during the year. Nicknamed the “hormone of darkness”, melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, which is linked to the retina of the eye. Its production is inhibited by light, with peak emission of the hormone occurring in the middle of the night. A dose of melatonin can therefore reduce sleep onset latency; successfully treating a number of sleep disorders that contribute to seasonal affective disorder (a mood disorder causing depressive symptoms in the winter months).

Melatonin is copiously produced during wintertime. Shorter days and an increase in cloud cover see a reduction in daylight, and less distinction between night and day. Treatment for seasonal affective disorder involves providing melatonin doses that regulate levels to their expected amount for the time of day. Given the effectiveness of this treatment, it is clear that melatonin levels vary substantially and predictably for all normal individuals during the year.

A scientific basis for astrology

During pregnancy, hormones and neurotransmitters within the mother's bloodstream will travel through the placenta into the developing brain of the fetus. It is well documented that drug use in mothers will cause drug addiction in the unborn child, but the impact of hormones such as melatonin has been researched much less.

However, there are examples of other, less reactive hormones that can create personality dispositions in the fetus. Prolonged exposure of a fetus to stress hormones from the mother can cause the fetuses brain to develop a lasting fight-or-flight mentality. Similarly, the works of Thomas Verny (1981) and David Chamberlain (1988) show that personality may be formed in the womb under the influence of chemicals within the mother’s blood.

Given the presence of melatonin in pregnant mothers, and the likelihood that it will interact with the fetus, it can be suggested that the brain development of human fetuses may be affected by melatonin levels in the mother's bloodstream, leading to particular personality dispositions or disorders. As pregnant mothers will all experience similar fluctuations in their melatonin levels throughout the year, a rather profound conclusion can be drawn. Children born within the same month will experience the same levels of melatonin in the womb when their brains are developing the same neural processes. In other words, it is possible that children born within the same month will have the same susceptibility to particular personality profiles, traits, or disorders.

Yearly fluctuations in melatonin levels could provide a scientific basis for astrology.
Yearly fluctuations in melatonin levels could provide a scientific basis for astrology. | Source

Could astrological observations be useful to scientists studying personality?

See results

Shaping our personality

Thousands of years ago when astrology was in its infancy, there was no such thing as the 'scientific method'. With the development of science, astrological explanations for psychological phenomena have been rightly ridiculed, but the observations that led to those explanations have been wrongly dismissed. Any apparent trend in personality profiles should be investigated.

This article couples the observations of astrologers with an explanatory scientific theory. Melatonin can potentially interact with the brain development of a human fetus during pregnancy to produce particular personality profiles. In all individuals, melatonin levels will vary cyclically during the year, meaning this hormone could be responsible for the psychological observations recorded by astrologers.

Astrologers may be far happier with their stars and signs. Scientists may even repudiate the theory through an entrenched ridicule of astrology. Indeed, one could make the case that brain development in the womb has a negligible effect on personality in later life, and while I agree that postnatal environment plays a large role in personality; prenatal environment has been shown to be just as important. It is likely that a combination of prenatal and postnatal effects are in play, where the foundations for later formative personality development are laid within the womb, leading to predictable but not all-encompassing trends in personality.

Melatonin is not the only hormone that can be used to predict personality, but it may be the only one that can unite astrology with science. So is astrology scientific? No, but it can be reluctantly integrated with science by exploring the novel approach delineated in this work.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ninasvoice profile image

      Ninasvoice 

      4 years ago from England

      Very interesting read, voted up, awesome, useful, beautiful and interesting. I believe Astrology is very useful. The more I read about it, the more fascinating links appear between Astrology, cultures, religions and science. I watched a really interesting programme on Netflix the other day called "Zeitgeist" a little bit silly in some places, but linked Egypt and even Christmas with Astrology. Saying that celebrating Christmas has nothing to do with the Birth of Jesus, but more to celebrate an astrological alignment. The programme goes to great lengths, especially demonstrating that the birth narrative of Jesus of Nazareth is purely an allegory for astrological occurrences that took place during the purported time of his birth. For example the three wise men turn out to be the three brightest star formation of Sirius that align in the sky round about Christmas time. Also that there are far too many similarities within every other culture and religion of the main "God" being born on 25th Decemember. Even the + symbol of the church is said to represent the four quadrants of Earth, Air, Fire, Water in astrology. Makes you wonder and def got me thinking.

    • Thomas Swan profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Swan 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks CrazedNovelist!

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 

      5 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Interesting writing...

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)