Under The Hood: Correlations

In explaining how Star Mate figures stuff out, one of the things I’ve mentioned is pattern matching – looking through a bunch of data and finding commonalities that may be surprising or, hopefully predictive.

First, let’s make sure we all understand this: Correlation does not equal Causation!
For example, Germans, French, Italians and Greeks eat more fatty foods, drink more alcohol and smoke more cigarettes than the British or Americans. Yet, they have significantly lower rate of heart disease in these countries. If you drop a map of languages on top of this data, you will see that heart disease is more prevalent in countries where English is the first language. That’s correlation. It doesn’t (despite some humorous memes to the contrary), mean that speaking English causes heart disease. And if it did, I would think it’s probably those who hear it spoken that would get the heart disease rather than the other way around. But it isn’t. So just to stress again, Correlation does not equal Causation!

Dionysus. Drank a lot. Didn't get heart disease, instead became immortal. Didn't speak English. Coincidence?

Dionysus. Drank a lot. Didn’t get heart disease, instead became immortal, didn’t speak English. Coincidence?


That being said, it can be very interesting. Since it is election season (when isn’t it?) in the U.S., the Star Mate team has been looking at possible insights into how this particular presidential race is going to pan out. Now, we’re not ready to make any predictions yet, but one particularly interesting factoid has emerged, relating to the planet Mercury.

Mercury is the planet of communication, and thought processes, astrologically speaking. It describes how we relate to the world, how we speak to it, and what we think about it. Whichever sign that Mercury is in, will color that process accordingly.

Now, the twelve western zodiac signs are divided into 4 elements, as follows:


We’ll talk about the Modes at some point in the future, but for now, let’s look at the elements. Each sign has an underlying energy based on the element it inhabits. There are many words that can be used to describe each element, but we’ll just use a couple to give you an idea of the overall theme of each one.

Fire – Dreams and Creativity
Water – Emotion, Compassion
Air – Ideas and Intellect
Earth – Structure, and the real world.

Since there are four elements, then random chance would say that any given president has a one in four chance of having Mercury in each of those elements. That isn’t however, what we find. Here is how the last ten presidents have played out:


See it? Every US President, since Kennedy, has had Mercury in either a Fire or Earth sign. To get an idea of what that means, think of it as coming up heads ten times in a row. The chance of that happening, by the way, is about 0.0975%

So, what does this mean? Excellent question, glad you asked. Perhaps nothing! Or perhaps there is something at work here. Remember we show a correlation, not causation. But for those interested, here are the Natal Mercury positions for each of the major candidates in the presidential race:


We’re not ready to make any predictions yet, although we may do as the primaries draw closer, but for now we hope you find this little example of some of the stuff we do behind the scenes interesting!


Star Master