Thursday, December 6, 2012

Astrology's Image Problem

Imagine a foreign exchange student from France or Italy comes to America for a visit. For some reason the host family takes him to either Denny's or McDonald's for every meal. He'd be entirely justified in concluding that American food is bland and possibly not even really food. However, that conclusion would be incorrect.

The average person's exposure to astrology is similar to the exchange student's experience with American food. Instead of being fed with nourishing concepts like the planets, the houses, aspects, reception and the like, they are fed bland Sun sign stereotypes. What's worse, few of them ever find out that there's more to astrology than that. Since everyone knows people who don't conform to the Sun sign stereotypes, many of them draw the conclusion that astrology is bullshit. It's not, but they have no way of knowing that.

Good astrologers know that there's more to people than their Sun signs. Unfortunately, good astrology doesn't sell books and newspapers, at least not in the quantity desired by those who are footing the bill. What's worse, someone who wants to study astrology in detail is faced with laundry lists of "this planet in this sign means X" and the like. Astrology, let's face it, is complex, and modern culture likes to oversimplify.

So what's the answer? I'm not sure, but I do know what would help: A fundamental change in the way we teach astrology, specifically a return to basic principles, and more specifically presenting traditional astrology to beginners first. Why traditional astrology? Because it's a system built on basic concepts. Once the beginners have sound knowledge of the basic concepts, they'll be able to derive everything else herself, and they'll have a solid base on which to add modern innovations.

This doesn't solve the problem of newspaper horoscopes and Sun sign books, and we still have materialist "skeptics" to deal with. I'm not worried about either. There's an old saying that nothing can beat an idea whose time has come. My feeling is that the materialist paradigm has already started to collapse, along with the current economic paradigm and a bunch of others. Our time is almost at hand.