Are People Really into Astrology?

In 2009, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey on faiths and beliefs and discovered that roughly 1/4th of the surveyed population “believed” in astrology, specifically, “that the position of the stars/planets can affect people’s lives.”  Considering astrology’s historic reputation, this is an interesting statistic and if the sampling error is accurate, can be extrapolated to the entire United States population of 325.7 million.  In other words, 81.4 million people living in the US “believe” in astrology.  Despite the fact that most astrologers do not refer to astrology as a belief system (or a religion), could this statistic be interpreted as significant “progress” for the astrological community?  As of this writing, a Google search on “astrology” returns 104 million results while searches on “pornography” and “the Bachelor” produce 68 million and 86.4 million, respectively.  While it may be assumed that this high volume of results may be a reflection of popularity, is it a mistake to equate this with respectability?

Astrology has repeatedly been criticized due to the scientific fact that it is physically impossible for any planet or planetary body (other than the Moon) to “affect” any individual living on earth and a majority of astrologers do not disagree with this.  Therefore, astrologers are either proposing the existence of a force not yet discovered or a radically different perspective of each individual’s relationship to their environment (or the universe) than what has been historically maintained under the materialistic/mechanistic Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm.[1]

This infers that astrology’s potential validity raises paradigm changing questions, yet it’s not clear that the general public (including the 24% sympathetic towards it) have grasped the impact of these ripple effects.[2]  Do they believe that this body of knowledge has adequate representation within any appropriate institution and/or industry?  Does their belief infer the possibility that much is either incorrect or in need of serious revision?  Most importantly, do they view astrology as a type of science whose workings are as self-evident as the changing of seasons?  As bold as this may sound, detailed data on this evolving perspective may have as much value as any amount of statistics attempting to validate its correlations.[3]  Without this insight, can any surveyed ratio be interpreted as more than just a lingering and ambivalent awareness of the “watered down” information historically provided by Sun sign columns?  And while the internet now offers a wealth of sites inundating the reader with cookbook explanations of every possible dynamic, there appears to be very little in the way of organization and synthesis.  The situation remains like the parable of the blind men and an elephant with many critics and skeptics fighting over the individual parts, but very few able to see the entire picture.

Another historical theme of astrological criticism is that the variety of manifestation associated with individual astrological dynamics contradicts or betrays any real meaning associated with the discipline.  Because astrological archetypes can mean more than one thing it is often assumed that they must mean everything or anything which reduces its meaning to nothing.  Rarely is it assumed that a range of potentialities is limited or that the degree of multivalence could be connected to a variety of other interrelated factors.  It is easy to condemn this as an inherent blind spot of a cause-and-effect paradigm, but this unfairly absolves the responsibility of accurately and comprehensively communicating the complexity.

Astrology is referred to as a language and inherent in this is the variation in meaning that corresponds with a change in context.  The same word used in different sentences, paragraphs or combinations of words can sometimes result in drastic variations in meaning.[4]  We take for granted our ability to interpret and understand these subtle nuances in communication, perhaps so much so that it is difficult to perceive when this same dynamic may be occurring elsewhere.  With astrology, the different combinations of planetary bodies, signs, houses, aspects, configurations, chart styles and dignities add context to any individual dynamic.  But, by attempting to isolate the analysis under a “microscope” does this inadvertently confuse astrology’s innately holistic nature?  While the basics shouldn’t be ignored with any body of knowledge/study, astrology is unique in that the whole picture is a requisite counterpart because this is where the power and beauty of synchronicity is experienced the strongest.

Witnessing the overarching design of improbable symbolic patterns can have a transformational effect on our perspectives, philosophies and higher truths and it is naive to assume that every facet of life can be separated, insulated or compartmentalized from their downstream influence.  Therefore, it is fair to question which measurements accurately reflect a significant degree of visible representation and integration.  Otherwise, can it be concluded that the astrological community doesn’t have a comprehensive or conclusive answer to the basic question, “are people really into astrology”?  Most importantly, would we know what to do with that answer if we did?

End Notes

[1] This is major underlying factor of the astrological community’s interest in quantum physics/mechanics.  Astrologers have astutely grasped that while 100% of physical phenomena is not governed by Newtonian mechanics, astrology is often judged upon the basis of that model.

[2] Consequently, the scientific community has grasped the enormity of this potential paradigm shift and a reflection of this can be found in the unified and unprecedented attack, Objections to Astrology, published in 1975.

[3] These specific questions would confirm how many individuals maintain the frightening proposition of legislation based on astrological delineation.  From an astrological perspective, much education, guidance and leadership would be required to correct this misconception.

[4] Words that sound the same, but spelled differently further complicates interpretation (i.e. mail, male, knight, night, sent, scent, etc).

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