The Astrological Matrix and the
Neurobiological Basis of Human Behavior


Edward Frederick Block IV, Ph.D.

Updated May 2006

All Rights Reserved


The essential thesis of this work is in three parts which are correlated in the following three paragraphs and in a concluding statement.

For the majority of animal species, behavior is for the most part genetically determined in what is called instinctual behavior. In higher primates, man specifically, a greater degree of behavioral plasticity is afforded, but nevertheless, most of the behavioral modes are genetically determined and instinctual. Because the central nervous system (CNS) is made up of a great number of cells, the composite architecture that they display in relation to each other is genetically determined. This means that the neurotransmitters each grouping of cells is using to communicate with other cell groupings (loci) is in turn genetically determined as well. This is the basic neurobiological and behavioral component.

The Earth displays many physico-chemical properties attendant to a mass of matter. One of these is the Geomagnetic Field (GMF). This field is part of the sum total of the Solar System's Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF). These fields emanate rhythmic energetic fluctuations. Within these rhythmically fluctuating fields life began and is continuing to evolve. The genetic determinants of life began and are evolving in concert with these fluctuating energies/fields and use them for temporal cues. Because the CNS responds to these rhythms, this is the basis for the biorhythms displayed in all animal species.

The discipline of Astrology is based in observation and pattern recognition that has accumulated over thousands of years. Astrology was originated in the area where mathematics also originated, what we call Mesopotamia. In fact, mathematics was invented in response to the need to be able to chart the heavens and record time. This discipline arose out of man's need to determine the cycles of seasons and weather for the newly acquired skills of agriculture and animal husbandry. Astrology was conceived in application to the rhythmic behavior of animals and people in response to the observed cycles tied to the rhythmic and cyclic changes seen in the heavens. The changing rhythmic patterns of the heavens were used as markers for the observed rhythmic patterns of behavior in living organisms.

In conclusion, it is my thesis that the Astrological Matrix describes the essential components of the CNS and the integration of behavioral expression temporally.

The Astrological Matrix

The components of the astrological matrix are as follows: the Polarities, the Quadraplicities and the Triplicities. The Polarities are (+) and (-). The Quadraplicities are 3 sets of 4 being Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable. The Triplicities are 4 sets of 3 being Fire, Earth, Air and Water. The 12 are the Astrological Signs (3 X 4) assigned accordingly to the Polarity, Quadraplicity and Triplicity as follows:

(+)- Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
(-)- Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces

Cardinal- Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Fixed- Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
Mutable- Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces

Fire- Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth- Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air- Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water- Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Notice that the Fire and Air signs are (+) and that the Earth and Water signs are (-).

Thus we have:

  • Aries is (+), Cardinal and Fire
  • Taurus is (-), Fixed and Earth
  • Gemini is (+), Mutable and Air
  • Cancer is (-), Cardinal and Water
  • Leo is (+), Fixed and Fire
  • Virgo is (-), Mutable and Earth
  • Libra is (+), Cardinal and Air
  • Scorpio is (-), Fixed and Water
  • Sagittarius is (+), Mutable and Fire
  • Capricorn is (-), Cardinal and Earth
  • Aquarius is (+), Fixed and Air
  • Pisces is (-), Mutable and Water

This is the basic Astrological Matrix. Now let us determine the correlates to neurobiology.


The fundamental unit of the CNS is the cell neuron. Neurons are grouped in cell loci throughout the CNS that is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. Nerve cells are mostly a cell body with dendritic processes for receiving information and one axon that speeds an electrical impulse to the bouton where secretory vesicles filled with neurotransmitter are stored. NTs are produced and packaged as vesicles or small globules in the neuron cell body and then transported down the axon to the terminal region called the bouton. Neurons have a distinctive shape. Upstream to the cell body are thin processes called dendrites. The neuron is rather angular on a globular shape due to the presence of these numerous dendrites and the one large and long downstream transmission cable, the axon. When sufficient stimulation is received by the cell body region from the sum total of all membrane activities taking place due to dendritic stimulation (+ or -), an action potential is generated by the cell body where the axon starts (hillock) and travels down the axon to the bouton. At the bouton, vesicles fuse with the membrane of the bouton region and empty their contents into the synaptic cleft between the upstream neuron and the downstream neuron. NTs make their way across the minute space called the synapse and interact with surface membrane components of the downstream dendrite or cell body. Thus while the conduction of the nerve impulse is electro-chemical in nature involving fluctuations of sodium, potassium and chloride ions in one individual neuron, neurons "talk" to each other by dumping various chemicals onto the membranes of each other. The book by M.D. Chavitz (1) contains an excellent and readily understandable account of neurophysiology. It is highly recommended for obtaining an overall understanding of the neurotransmitters and behavior as well as the neuroanatomy of the CNS.

Three neurotransmitters have achieved special prominence by being at the center of ordering behavioral events in time. These are the monoamine neurotransmitters dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT) and norepinepherine (NE). These NTs are the basis for biorhythms, see below.

The monoamine (DA, NE, 5-HT) neurons have their origins in the brainstem and project to higher centers in the midbrain, cerebellum and cortex a well as descending to the peripheral nervous system via the spinal cord. Acetyl-choline (ACh) neurons appear to be universally present throughout the brain but have a general upwards ascending tendency. ACh neurons terminate at a lower level of the neocortex than do the monoamines and are also important neurotransmitters. The excitatory amino acid (Asp, Glu) neurons in contrast have descending pathways from the neocortex, mid-brain and cerebellum. GABA and Glycine neurons are interneurons dispersed throughout the Asp/Glu network and modulate the stimulatory effects of the Asp/Glu neurons. This is an extreamly important negative feedback system as overstimulation of neurons causes cell death. GABA neurons are found in the brain while Glycine neurons are found in the spinal cord.

Neurons communicate with other neurons by secreting neurotransmitters from the bouton to the dendrite of another neuron. Both the pattern of nerve loci placed within the CNS and the NTs secreted by these loci are genetically determined. It has been determined that in excess of 60% of the human genome has to do with the nervous system in some manner. The development of the nervous system from fertilized egg to blastula, to fetus, to baby, to child, to juvenile, to adult, to death is controlled by the changes in the relationships between sets of polygenetic alleles throughout a persons timeline. These sets of alleles are the determinants for all aspects of the physical, emotional and mental characteristics of human expression. The integration of these loci is also genetically determined. By looking at the neurotransmitters of nerve cell loci, one is able to observe a pattern in their distribution within the CNS. There are 3 major classes of neurons involved in the integration of the CNS. They are those which secrete dopamine(DA), serotonin(5-HT) and norepinephrin(NE) as neurotransmitters and are called the neuromodulators.

Dr. C. Robert Cloninger proposed a systematic method for the clinical description and classification of personality variants in June of 1987(2). He determined that there were 3 genetically independent dimensions of personality which he called novelty seeking, harm avoidance and reward dependence. 1. Novelty Seeking (behavioral activation) is modulated by the neurotransmitter dopamine. It has the relevant stimuli as novelty, potential reward and the potential relief of monotony or punishment. The behavioral responses are exploratory pursuit, appetitive approach and active avoidance or escape. 2. Harm Avoidance (behavioral inhibition) is modulated by serotonin. It has the relevant stimuli as conditioned signals for punishment, novelty or frustrative nonreward. The behavioral responses are passive avoidance and extinction of stimulus. 3. Reward Dependence (behavioral maintenance) is modulated by norepinephrine. It has relevant stimuli as conditioned signals for reward or relief from punishment. The behavioral response is resistance to extinction of stimulus.

These 3 systems together integrate the over all activity of the CNS through time. The discipline of biorhythms describes this integration (3). The Physical (P), Emotional (E) and Intellectual (I) Cycles of Biorhythms correlate to the above 3 systems. The P-cycle is the DA system, the E-cycle is the 5-HT system and the I-cycle is the NE system. Thus we have a good picture of the basis of human behavior as the expression of the 3 major CNS neuromodulators interacting cyclically through time as the sum total of the integration of the 3 at any one point in time. As the physical expression of the cellular components of the body are genetically determined, then their integration is also genetically determined. The cycles of each are such that they amplify and dampen each other according to the summation of each individual neuromodulator into an overall behavioral expression at any point in time. This is seen as a complex wave made up of the additions and subtractions of each individual wave according to the individual cycle; P (DA) cycles in 23 days, E (5-HT) cycles in 28 days and I (NE) cycles in 33 days. Each (+) half and (-) half of the individual waves are reflecting a cyclic surge and ebb of activity in each of the neuromodulator nerve cell loci. This is reflected in the cyclic changes in the relationships of the Solar System Interplanetary Magnetic field caused by the relative positions of the sun and planets as they move about each other.

The cerebral cortex is divided into 2 hemispheres, left and right, each with particular characteristics (4). The left hemisphere is the seat of conscious behavior while the right hemisphere is the seat of intuition. The left hemisphere specializes in verbal and numerical information processed in a linear and ordered manner. It is the active, verbal, logical, rational and analytic part of the brain, capable of cataloguing and analyzing information. The right hemisphere is the intuitive, creative, primarily nonverbal part of our brain. It deals with 3D forms and images. It sees the whole and is able to understand complex configurations and structures. Integrating these 2 hemispheres is the Corpus Callossum as the interconnecting axonal extensions of left and right hemisphere interneurons. It transmits information, memory and learning between the 2 hemispheres. The hemispheres are further divided into forebrain and hindbrain bundles. The left hindbrain is technically oriented and specializes in thinking/analysis. The left forebrain is pragmatic and specializes in controlling and implementing. The right forebrain is innovative and specializes in thinking/synthesis. The right hindbrain is idealistic and specializes in feeling and interpersonal relationships.

The metabolism of neurons is integrated at several levels. One is the internal cellular membranous compartments and the maintenance of cellular architecture, energy relationships, response to internal messengers and the mitotic cycle. Another is the response to extracellular events as sensitivity to changes in chemical factors (hormones, cytokines, blood chemistry) and to NTs. The relation one particular nerve cell locus to other cell loci is a level of integration which is dependent upon the spatial and temporal activities of all loci within the CNS. All these change with time in a cyclic pattern which may be observed. The ultimate stimulus for all of these integrative changes in neuron cell cycles is response to a cascade of chemical factors through various CNS loci keyed to Pineal Gland(PG) secretions. The PG responds directly to the field fluctuations of the GMF and IMF. Melatonin and beta-lipotropin are 2 such secretions. Melatonin is responsible for the night/day cycle of awakefullness and sleep. Beta-lipotropin is a polypeptide of some 400 amino acids long which is cleaved into 3 or more different proteins according to responses to the GMF and IMF in time. These influence the secretions of the hypothalamus which in turn regulates the CNS and the hormonal systems of the body.

The neurophysiology of the CNS is keyed to the rhythmic fluctuations of the GMF and IMF. The neurobiology of any person is genetically determined. The polygenetic sets of alleles of any person are those which have been passed down in an unbroken lineage since the beginning of life on this planet. These sets of alleles have evolved within and respond to the fluctuations of the GMF and IMF. It is the matter and the interactions of matter in the mass of the Sun and Planets which is responsible for the GMF and IMF. Ultimately then, studying the relationships of the Solar System components and observing the patterns of human behavior in response thereof is a fruitful avenue of human endeavor.


Now to the correlations between Neurobiology and the Astrological Matrix(AM).

The Polarities of the AM correspond to the brain hemispheres thusly:
(+)= Left Hemisphere
(-)= Right Hemisphere.

Astrology names the (+) Polarity as Masculine & Extroverted and the (-) Polarity as Feminine & Introverted. Neuroscience ascribes the conscious beingness to the Left Hemisphere and the intuitive aspects of the psyche to the Right Hemisphere. This goes with the (+) Polarity as light, open and projecting (masculine or left brain attributes) dealing with the physical world as a conscious entity being the Left Hemisphere. The dark, introspective and mysterious/intuitive Right Hemisphere as the (-) Polarity dealing with relationships and creative expression born of seemingly spontaneous expression (feminine or right brain attributes).

The Quadraplicities correspond to the 3 major neuromodulators of the CNS: Cardinal=DA, Fixed=NE and Mutable=5-HT.

Cardinal signs are always starting up or stirring up events. This is exactly what the DA neuromodulator does in the CNS. All physical activity is keyed by this set of nerve cell loci and their tracts originating in the CNS. Fixed Signs seem to be bent upon keeping things the way they were/are. They do not like changes. This is what the neuromodulator NE does in the CNS, it maintains behaviors and responses to environmental cues in rigid expressive manners. It does not allow for the continuous updating of appropriate behavioral expression. Mutable Signs seem to be blown willy-nilly by the winds in any direction. But deep down inside, they steer the course of events in the manner to which they want by manipulation of the Cardinal and Fixed Signs. This is what the 5-HT neuromodulator does in the CNS, it mediates between the other two neuromodulator systems and is tied directly to the forebrain which determines the course of immediate events.

The Triplicities correspond to the 4 brain hemisphere bundles: LF=Fire, RF=Earth, LH=Air and RH=Water.

The Cerebral Hemispheres are further subdivided into Forebrain (FB) and Hindbrain (HB) bundles. The thinking and problem solving attributes of left HB (LHB) dominant people are characterized as being logical, analytical, rational, objective and critical. These are people whom are talented in technical or quantitative endeavors. These people use practical judgment and have an empirical, incisive view of problems and situations. They are very good at dealing with concrete situations and seek quantitative precision. These are also the attributes of Air Signs. Air is positive and relates everything encountered with all else. Air is connected with transport, of mostly ideas but also objects. Air is fond of abstraction but it is closer to physical reality than is Fire. Air is associated with thinking and logic, social and external concepts of truth. It is very social, but unable to handle real intimacy well. Air has the need to develop a sensitivity to the internal, emotional aspects of other people to match its comprehension of the external. The intellect is detached and objective as well as facile and quick; excellent for observing, planning and organizing. Air is excellent for original, creative thinking that is related to highly abstract and technical fields. Its combination of abstractness and practicality is an essential quality of the element of Air. Thus the LHB and Air Sign characteristics are complementary.

On the other hand, left FB (LFB) individuals are characterized as practical, pragmatic, decisive, realistic, organized and detail oriented. These people seek solutions that meet current needs, are good at tactics and pursue the shortest route to payoff. They are good at setting up agendas and like to develop schedules and plans. They usually accept conventional values and provide stability and structure to their organizations. These are also the attributes of Fire Signs. Fire is the energy of Spirit. Fire operates by energizing and transforming. It is active and dominant, not willing to allow circumstances to take the initiative. It signifies will. Fiery entities manifest the qualities of process, change and evolution. Fire is an emotional element tending to the more active and dynamic emotions. Fire is outgoing, with connotation of strength in a masculine way. It is demanding in self as in others and it provides motivation to act. Thus the LFB and Fire Sign characteristics are complementary.

The thinking and problem solving attributes of RFB individuals are characterized as imaginative, innovative, intuitive, artistic and visually oriented. These people do well in tasks calling for synthesizing and conceptualizing abilities. They also have an integrative and more comprehensive view of situations and problems. They are able to consider and weigh a broad range of viewpoints and think strategically. They are good at gathering, assembling, comparing and reshuffling ideas which enables them to come up with unique and dynamic concepts. They prefer to work independently, pursue their own way rather than ready-made solutions and often take risks and break rules that impede progress. These are also the attributes of Earth Signs. Earth is the direct experience of the physical universe. It symbolizes the quality of being substantial and material. It is both matter and the need to deal with matter. It limits freedom due to the nature of matter and the materiality of the world around us. Earth is also a support of and source of nurture. It is stable and passive, it needs to be acted upon and formed by an external energy. Earth needs to resist change and signifies structures that break down under pressure because they lack the flexibility that allows adaptation. Earth provides substance and therefore it is effective for actualization. Finally, Earth perceives reality very well but negates the emotions. Thus the RFB and Earth Sign characteristics are complementary.

RHB individuals are participative, supportive, empathic, interpersonal, affiliative, idealistic and emotional. Many have highly developed aesthetic sensitivity and tend to be artistic and spiritual. They are good at creating an idealistic, integrative image of reality. They tend to thrive on an internal sense of motivation and purpose. They like to challenge traditional assumptions and prefer to think speculatively. These are also the attributes of Water Signs. Water is a style to grasp all as a whole. Water is a non-rational element that is not easily expressed, a subtle feeling-toned understanding. It is best at feeling relationships and the way everything interacts with every other thing. Communication is best through artistic expression such as art, music and poetry. Related to Water are very vivid personal experiences that tend to overwhelm external experiences. Water is the need to live in a clean psychic environment. Water understands the feelings and emotions of others better than any other type and is capable of great emotional depth and compassion for others. Air is creative imagination that requires some Earth for actualization. Water has the ability to see a possible existence where there was no existence before. Water brings new insights into the nature of human existence and the ability to understand ourselves better. Thus the RHB and Water Sign characteristics are complementary.


Thus, the Astrological Matrix is coding for the integration of the CNS in the human condition and therefore also the basis of human behavior. As the AM is coding for the neurobiology of an individual, it must also be coding for the polygenetic sets of alleles that determine the behavioral characteristics. This means that Astrology is attempting to ascribe physical, emotional, intellectual and behavioral characteristics to persons on the basis of the parameters of the Solar System at the time of birth of an individual. Heuristic Astrology is attempting to ascribe temporary influences due to planetary aspect. Indeed, Astrology is attempting to describe the response of a person's genetic heritage to the fluctuations in the GMF and IMF as made manifest in any particular individual. This is a daunting task and has a clear and sound basis in neurobiology. The task of future work is to research and identify the polygenetic sets of alleles responsible and the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological correlates to the Astrological Matrix.


  1. M. D. Chavitz, "Nutrition And Neurotransmitters: The Nutrient Bases Of Behavior", 1990, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs
  2. C. Robert Cloninger, "A Systematic Method for Clinical Description and Classification of Personality Variants", 1987, Arch Gen Psychiatry, vol. 44, pp 573-588.
  3. A. Sollberger, "Cycle Cloning", 1986, J Interdisipl Cycle Res, vol 17, pp 225-228.
  4. E. Raudsepp, "How Do You Think? Left...Or Right?", 1992, Machine Design, August 20, pp 85-89.

Science & Education Section