Right, this has been bugging me for a number of years.
There seems to be, especially on the twitter-sphere, certain, mainly male celebrities of a certain age and beard length, who make a point of telling everyone how rubbish a spiritual path/religion is and specifically astrology. OK they probably think tarot reading and other associated practices are just as bonkers, but they seem to have a spectacular vehemence towards astrology. I think it is because certain people have claimed that astrology is a science. It isn’t, it is an interpretive art based on scientific calculations. It has it’s roots in early science but cannot be proved using scientific methods, more on that later.
Some years ago Dara O’Briain and a little more embarrassed Prof Brian Cox had a stand up fist fight (metaphorically speaking) with members of the Astrological Association regarding the comment that Astrology is rubbish because of the precession of the equinoxes.
For information, the precession of the equinoxes is an astronomical phenomenon linked to the orbiting of the Earth around the Sun which means that the 0 point of Aries (still called so by astronomers) or the point at which the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north which happens at the spring equinox, moves backwards in the sky and is now at the beginning of Pisces and about to move into Aquarius. Their argument is that if the positions of the constellations have moved, then the practice of astrology is not valid.
This comes from a place of ignorance of how astrology is actually practiced and what most astrologer believe ….. but you try telling them that.
Firstly, it implies that those who practice astrology know nothing about astronomy, which of course is not the case, especially those who have been practicing for some time. We are taught about the precession of the equinoxes as one of the first things in our training. You have to know about the paths of the planets around the Sun in order to calculate an accurate chart.
Secondly, Vedic Astrology actually makes adjustments for the precession so does that make Vedic Astrology valid in their eyes? – I doubt it.
My belief is that they think Astrology is rubbish because people they admire but have no more information about it than they have, have told them it is rubbish and you can’t reason with that.
Looking at the premise of Astrology, I can see their point, but my argument is that we are all stuff of the Universe, something that Brian Cox and Carl Sagan have said, so why shouldn’t our personal cycles coincide with the planetary cycles? The Orientals call things like this meaningful co-incidences but I think it is more than that. Astrology looks at a point in time which our birth connects us to and as we grow and develop, personal physical and emotional cycles happen which can be reflected in the way the heavens move after our birth.
There are certain psychological developments which happen at the same time as planets reach certain points in their cycle, and the backdrop is the seasonal cycle, not the constellations. If we start our Zodiac at 0 point of Aries, the next 30 degrees of the sky is the sign of Aries, the following 30 degrees is Taurus and so on. You can see it in the seasonal cycles and the season that we are born is has a lot to do with our development.
I doubt if Astrology will ever be proved to the point of scientific acceptance, for two reasons. It is difficult to develop double blind experiments for something that links to personal experience. Also science doesn’t have an appetite to do so. If any scientist in this day and age, finds proof that any part of astrology is valid, that is the end of their career. In one instance, scientists so vilified a French statistician, Michel Gauquelin, who seemed to find a correlation between where planets are placed in the chart and the subjects careers that he eventually committed suicide
I do, however, despair at the astrologers who rise to the bait and get all shirty, writing to the BBC and demanding equality and balance because it only feeds the beast. I have no problem with people not believing in it, and saying so, as long as their debating points don’t consist of saying I am an idiot or un-intelligent about the whole thing. I might be misguided, but I have found that it is fairly convincing over the 30+ years that I have been practicing.
AT (Tad) Mann went on a James Randi programme many years ago to talk about his LifeTime astrology and was subject to a raft of verbal abuse by National Treasure and professional sceptic, Stephen Fry. All Tad did was shrug in a sort of pfft way , it made Mr Fry look a little bit silly because he had nowhere else to go after that – I applauded from the comfort of my armchair. This is the only reaction astrologers should have, we have studied it and until the detractors study it and find it wanting, coming up with good reasons for it’s failure, then their opinion is neither valid nor required. ‘It’s rubbish because I say so and so does my wife’ is not good enough.
Many years ago, a humanist and secretary of the local secular society came to visit our astrology meeting. (He also turned up at a Pagan moot I attended at the time) He was looking into it and other spiritual paths and practices. We were asked questions politely and with genuine interest, mainly about why we believed what we did. Eventually he left, unconverted but at least seeing us as intelligent people who are not misguided or credulous, but who do test and question things. I’m happy with that. This is how I like to be seen