A friend who knows very little about astrology, although she loves the solar return charts I’ve done for her, asked me, “Do you believe in psychics?”
Somebody on another friend’s page asks, “Do you believe in mediums?”
My answer is always the same, there are lots of people with psychic power, lots of people with mediumistic power (think, tarot readers), and so forth for every other esoteric art that I can’t think of. The point I try to make is that it is fairly common, albeit remarkable.
What I sometimes let other people say is that there are lots of quacks and frauds out there. Maybe it should be coming from my words more often. If you don’t have a bullshit sensor, you can be taken in by such people. I have seen it happen, repeatedly.
Astrology has a reputation problem. Astrology, when true, is based on actual empirical information — enough data will take it out of the realm of anecdotal evidence and into the realm of an actual evidence-based practice.
Gary Goldschneider, when he wrote his personology books in the late 1990s (if you haven’t read The Secret Language of Relationships, run, don’t walk, to your nearest online bookstore), was basing his truth on over 40 years of biographical research. David Cochrane would not have been able to come up with Vibrational Astrology without the thousands of interviews he did in the 1970s.
But our government considers astrology to be entertainment, and many people, including the publishers of Wikipedia, call it pseudoscience. This is a problem. (Yes, they don’t have a concept of qualitative data, but that doesn’t stop the major PR problem that we face.)
This problem is exacerbated both directly and indirectly by things that we as astrologers do.
An astrologer I deeply respect and who I agree with on most politics does online transit charts on Facebook for political figures who are prominent today. The transit charts correspond with events that are happening that these political figures at the exact time of the event. With all that is happening with the Trump administration she has a lot of opportunities to do so.
I don’t specifically remember the event or person she was covering — it was a couple of months ago. Let’s say the person was born in 1962 — I don’t know the exact year, but we’ll use that.
She put in — get this — 2962. Everything else was correct. Then she did the transits to that birth date. And she did these transits with absolute certainty that these were the transits — making these very specific aspects to a person’s birth chart — a person who will not be born for another 940 years, and not the person she was studying and so convinced that she knew what she was talking about.
I was — needless to say — alarmed. An astrologer can destroy their entire reputation with such a careless error.
Relatedly, we were taught in class that when we do a consultation we must check with the client that we have the birth time right. This is vital. I hope I never make this mistake.
The more indirect problem we as astrologers have, one that I find very embarrassing, is what I would term “science denial” and just a general tendency to believe conspiracy theories. The most obvious topic this is happening in right now is COVID-19.
The above is a thirty-minute read. It actually took me closer to an hour. The article, The Hammer and the Dance, is more than two months old, and was the best understanding of epidemiologists at the time.
Most astrologers have not read the article, and thank god the astrologer Carolyn Simpson is my friend, or I would not have read it either. And if you were to ask an astrologer to read the article?
Many are so busy reading (and believing) in the conspiracy theory that Bill Gates (an individual with a deep commitment to public health, for all his flaws) is using this as an opportunity to microchip people for the purposes of social control.
In this case, many astrologers seem to be turning away from doing what some of us find obvious should be done — gather the opinions of a number of epidemiologists and think thoroughly and critically at what they say. Any debate that happens would be based on that. In many cases, not just COVID-19, we simply aren’t.
I could easily quote other people I know who are not in the astrological community who post online something, apparently, by Edgar Allen Poe, that says, “Believe none of what you see, and half of what you hear,” not knowing that they are participating unwittingly in a deeper conspiracy than the one they believe in — the conspiracy to denigrate reason, logic, and science. But I think if we, as the astrological community, want a better reputation (if we care enough about that) we have got to be held to a higher standard than the one we’re holding ourselves to now.
Astrology and science can and should coexist. There is value in esoteric arts like astrology, tarot, mediums, psychics, and other things in which, generally speaking, we prove our points through empiricism rather than rationalism (although thinking through astrological points through rationalism is certainly an interesting exercise).
If empiricism is the scientific method, then astrologers have a strong leg to stand on. We should be confident that our methods are good. Similarly, in the case of COVID, we should be listening to epidemiologists. On other scientific issues, we should be listening to the people with the most experience and the most sound thinking, with discrimination, and without rushing to assume there is an agenda, unless that assumption is truly warranted.