06 January 2012

That's Not Astrology

One of my complaints about many modern astrologers is that what they are doing simply isn't astrology. They employ astrology to give what they are saying a veneer of respectability. One might question whether astrology can really lend anything a sense of respectability, given how it is perceived by the mainstream media. But the public is generally more accepting of it than we might at first think. But the public is also misinformed about astrology. Folks generally don't know much more about it than their Sun sign, and maybe a bit of what that supposedly means.

But my complaint isn't with the general public. After all, I don't expect non-experts to know expert-level information in any field. My complaint is with those who are passing themselves off as astrologers, while doing something completely other than astrology. For example, I see on Facebook a weekly video that some of my friends post (some of them being modern style astrologers). This is a very popular video series by someone purporting to be giving an astrological "forecast" for the week. Aside from my issues with the modern astrological perspective in these updates, what this person is doing is simply laying out a "metaphysical" set of desires or goals, and then using current astrological placements to justify them.

While goals such as being at peace, seizing the moment, becoming one's best self, etc., may be admirable, that's not what current astrological transits are always telling us to do, necessarily. The presenter gives it away in saying: "These are the astrological underpinnings of what I want to say to you today." So admittedly, the goal isn't really an astrological forecast, rather the goal is to preach about something and then use current astrology to back it up. This is quite similar to what preachers do in churches; they will cherry-pick biblical passages or lines within a prescribed passage to make whatever point they want to make, rather than letting the text (or the planets and stars) actually speak for themselves.

I have often said that if I were a client, I wouldn't really care where or how my astrologer or psychic was getting their information, as long as it was correct and they were able to accurately predict most things. But as a student of astrology, I do care where the information comes from. As an astrologer, the predictions made should be reproducible by another astrologer using similar techniques (or close to the same prediction). And as a teacher of astrology, these techniques, when passed on, should also result in similar delineations and predictions.

So when you hear astrologers going on about all sorts of fluffy, pie-in-the-sky goals, without really being able to say very directly: "this is what the aspect is, and this is precisely what it means," you should beware.

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