It seems that some relationships are simply just meant to be,
that their very existence was written in the stars. But for Dr.
Roger Culver and wife Gail Culver, it was literally the stars that
brought them together. Their relationship has become a microcosm
for the age-old conflict between astrology and science.
Gail Culver has been an astrologist for more than 40 years.
Roger Culver is an astronomy professor at CSU and a known critic of
astrology. In fact, he co-wrote the book “The Gemini Syndrome,”
which set out to disprove astrology all together.
“I had read his book, so when I moved from San Diego to Fort
Collins, I wanted to find him and meet him,” Gail said. “I met
someone who knew him and we were finally introduced at a dinner
that we were both invited to. We discussed his book and I told him
how much I disliked it.”
The two went on to have many heated debates, some even publicly
scheduled at places like the Lincoln Center.
Eventually, as the law that states opposites attract would have
it, the two ended up falling in love and ultimately getting
married. And the place they wed was, fittingly enough, the CSU
Planetarium, but not before word of their relationship was covered
in the national news.
One Oprah show and a million arguments about astrology’s
validity later, here they are, with a deeper understanding of each
other’s field but still clinging tightly, not to mention making a
living, on their original beliefs.
“As a scientist, I am used to pinning things down and you just
can’t do that with astrology,” Roger said.
While he claims that astrology is not necessarily a valid way to
determine a person’s life map, Gail claims that quite the opposite
can be true of astrology.
“It works because it works. It is all about mathematics,” Gail
said. “I use it because the first time I looked back across my life
with my birth chart … it showed everything that had happened
throughout my life.”
A birth chart, like the one that Gail has, is an essential
roadmap that astrologers create in order to give a person their
true horoscope. It can tell people about their past, present and
future, including what their personalities traits are, when they
will face the rough times in their lives, how successful they will
be and even when they will have the most meaningful relationships
in their lives.
“The chart will show you the hand you are dealt in life, just
not how you will play that hand,” Gail said. “People find it
helpful because it is like a map. People feel better when they see
there is an order or a scheme (to their life).”
The birth chart is a necessary tool for astrologers to give an
accurate reading of someone’s horoscope. It is created using
numerous mathematical calculations, including where the planets
were aligned when a person was born and where the planets will be
throughout various stages in that person’s life.
“A birth chart is not like what you read in the newspaper; that
is only for entertainment and only incorporates people’s sun
signs,” Gail said. “To make a precise horoscope you need the exact
day, time and place a person was born, even four minutes can make a
difference and no two birth charts are alike.”
Sun signs, like Aries, Cancer and Sagittarius, are what most
novices associate with astrology. These are the signs that a person
looks under in the horoscope section of his/her favorite magazine
or daily newspaper. There are 12 total and everyone falls under one
of these depending on when they were born. However, Gail said that
much more must be figured out about people before they can call
their horoscope their very own.
“Thirteen hundred factors based on (the planets) make up a birth
chart,” she said.
Even her husband, a dedicated scientist, will admit that
calculating a person’s birth chart is an extremely difficult
“The birth chart has fairly tedious calculations, but when it is
done, it’s your own and unique to you,” Roger said.
Technology has made the mathematics of birth charts much easier
and today a computer can perform all of the figures. However, the
math is actually considered the easy part. Interpreting the charts
is said to be the true test of an astrologer’s skills.
“Interpretation is an art. It’s hard to measure things like love
or attraction,” Gail said.
Which, according to her, is what most people want answered.
Inquiries about love, money and careers are the most frequently
A deeper examination of books written on astrology shows that it
has been put to use to everything from pets, politics and babies to
criminology and cooking.
According to Julia and Derek Parker, astrologers and authors of
“Parkers’ Astrology,” people’s preoccupation with the skies began
long before the invention of writing.
“Gradually, astrologers divided the belt of the ecliptic into 12
sections, naming each after the constellation of fixed stars which
stood behind it. Furthermore, it was realized that when a planet
passed through one of the sections, certain effects occurred like
babies born at the same time seemed to share common
characteristics, and certain events seemed more likely to occur,”
Joe Koller, a junior majoring in accounting at CSU, has an
astrologer in the family who completed his birth chart for him
about four years ago.
“It basically told me what kind of person I am, what aspects in
life I desire most and what I need out of life to be happy,” Koller
said. “In a lot of ways the personality traits were right on, more
so than the other parts.”
Gail said there is no way a person’s entire life can be
interpreted through one reading. According to her, the first
reading usually includes personality traits, talents and possibly a
projection of the next couple of years. After that, the chart must
be updated to answer more in-depth questions.
Koller said he is not quite sure if updating his chart for
another reading would interest him.
“I’m just not sure if I would want to know more about my future.
I just think it would mess with my mind,” he said.
Gail said Koller’s reaction is normal for some people.
“Astrology produces a mixed bag (of reactions). Some people just
aren’t accepting of it or superstitious, but the reality is that
most people are curious,” she said.
For thousands of years, those curious people having been turning
to the stars for answers about their love lives, careers, money or
for a quick glimpse into the future. Some seek true guidance and
understanding of their lives, while others turn to the stars for
entertainment purposes or a good laugh. Whatever the reason, it is
a known fact that most human beings have been obsessed, or at the
very least curious, about what their horoscopes may reveal.