Is Astrology for You?
“WHAT type of person am I?” “What is my calling in life?” “What does the future hold for me?” Have you ever pondered over those questions? Most people have. In search for answers millions throughout history have turned to astrology. What is meant by this term?
The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia defines astrology as a study that “assumes that the heavenly bodies [sun, moon, stars and planets] exert, according to their relative positions at certain times, a direct influence upon human life and destiny.”
Is there some valid basis to astrology? Can one gain supernatural knowledge by employing it? If you were to become involved in astrology, would it exercise a good influence over you?
Mounting Interest in Astrology Today
Recent years have seen an enormous upsurge of interest in astrology. Concerning this, writer Jess Stearn stated:
“Astrology, the once discredited art of the Chaldeans and Babylonians, is now going through a singular resurgence. So strong has the vogue become—not only with gullible old ladies, but with intellectuals and the young—that architects are designing homes especially for people born under certain signs of the zodiac [and] interior decorators and manufacturers are adapting color schemes to people with these self-same signs.”
Interest in astrology is found among people of all walks of life. Rich and poor alike read their horoscopes daily. In the United States alone some ten million individuals zealously follow astrology and about forty million more have some contact with it. Twenty years ago horoscope columns could be found in less than a hundred newspapers in this country. Today over a thousand United States newspapers carry them.
Why do people pursue astrology? Self-interest is often a motivating factor. For example, young men and women with romantic intentions often compare horoscopes to see if they are “right” for each other. Many seek by astrology to know what financial moves to make and when. In Asia marriage and burial dates are often determined by astrology. In the East both the time and precise direction of ceremonial marches are frequently determined by astrologers. Even palace walls have been torn down so that a procession could move in alignment with the planets.
Astrologers insist that what they do is really a science. One of them recently wrote: “It is the greatest body of knowledge in human history—bar none.” However, many reference works define astrology as a “pseudoscience” (that is, “false or pretended science”). What is the truth of the matter? How do astrologers go about making their calculations? Is their method truly scientific? The answer to these questions may have a bearing on whether astrology is for you.
Is Astrology Scientific?
In ancient times the earth was thought to be the center of the universe. Because the earth makes one full rotation on its axis every twenty-four hours, to one standing upon the earth it seems that the sun, moon and stars revolve around the earth.
Ancient astrologers concluded that these heavenly movements had some special significance for man. They noted twelve particular star groups or constellations to which they gave names of persons and of animals, such as Leo (for lion), Taurus (for bull) and Aries (for ram). The assumed circular path through which these stars and planets seem to travel came to be called the zodiac, meaning “[circle] of animals (or, living creatures).” Concerning the zodiac, The World Book Encyclopedia comments: “From the earliest times, men have divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts of 30° each. These parts are called the signs of the zodiac. About 2,000 years ago, each sign received the name of the constellation that occupied its position.”
Because of the movement of the earth around the sun, from the earth it appears that the sun progresses from one constellation to the next each month, making a complete circuit in twelve months.
Astrologers claim that at the exact moment of birth a person is especially affected by the constellation in which the sun appears and also by the one rising at the time on the eastern horizon at the place of his birth. Astrologers also say that the positions of the planets with relation to the stars and to one another at certain times can affect the individual favorably or unfavorably. This is especially true, they claim, at the moment of birth. A chart, showing these positions is called a “horoscope.” Supposedly, radiations from these heavenly bodies strike the newborn infant’s cells, causing hereditary changes that determine what type of person he will be. Is this really true?
University of Arizona astronomer Dr. Bart J. Bok says, No. He stated:
Studies of the stars and planets have shown that the amounts of radiation from these bodies that are received on earth are exceedingly small and that any gravitational effects are so slight as to be negligible in comparison with those from nearby objects.
“Apart from the sun, the moon is the only celestial body that regularly produces a force in excess of the gravitational force produced by adjacent objects at the time of birth. Only under the most favorable conditions can the gravitational attraction of the planet Mars equal that produced by the doctor in charge of the delivery.”
Even if the celestial bodies could affect a person’s cells and mold his personality, would this occur at birth? Leading geneticist Amram Scheinfeld points out:
“[The astrologers’] position that cosmic forces affect an infant’s personality at the moment of birth is genetically untenable. For this theory to be valid, the influence on the genes would have to occur at the moment of the child’s conception, not at his birth. . . . All their charts are plotted nine months too late.”
Because of this difficulty, some astrologers try to calculate from the time of conception. But who can determine that moment with precision?
What About Zodiac Dates?
There is another serious difficulty too. We remember that the dates for the signs of the zodiac were calculated on the basis of the constellations that appeared in them about two thousand years ago. At that time, for example, the constellation Aries could be seen in the “Aries” section of the zodiac. The sun would appear in this constellation at the spring equinox (about March 21) and would remain there for about thirty days. Zodiac charts give the impression that this is still true, assigning the period from March 21 to April 20 to Aries. But this is incorrect. The World Book Encyclopedia explains why:
“Each year, the sun crosses the equator about 50 seconds of arc west of the points where it crossed the year before. This westward movement of the equinoctial points is called the precession of the equinoxes. . . .
“Because of precession, the signs of the zodiac no longer correspond to the constellations for which they were named. Over 2,000 years ago the sun was in the part of the sky called Aries at the spring equinox, and it is still called the first of Aries. It is now in the constellation Pisces, and is moving on toward the constellation which is called Aquarius in the zodiac.”
So dates given in zodiac charts for the sun’s appearance in the various constellations are all one section off, or, as the same encyclopedia puts it: “Today, the stars of Aries are in the sign [section] of Taurus. Those of Taurus are in the sign [section] of Gemini, those of Gemini in the sign [section] of Cancer, and so on.” Horoscopes based upon the old dates are completely incorrect. Is something so lacking in scientific basis really for you?
Origin in Religion of Ancient Babylon
If you were to look into the history of astrology, what would you learn? Where and how did it originate? Professor Morris Jastrow declares: “The history of astrology can now be traced back to ancient Babylonia, and indeed to the earliest phases of Babylonian history.” Concerning the zodiac, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia points out: “There is strong evidence that the zodiac was formed at Babylon about 2100 B.C. . . . Several of the ancient constellation figures have a remarkably Babylonian character, . . . and nearly all may be explained from Babylonian mythology.”
What purpose did astrology serve at its beginning? Professor Jastrow continues: “In Babylonia as well as in Assyria . . . astrology takes its place in the official cult as one of the two chief means at the disposal of the priests . . . for ascertaining the will and intention of the gods.” The sun, moon and planets were considered the homes of the Babylonian gods and were named after them. The priests believed that a correct interpretation of the movements of these bodies would reveal what the gods were about to do. Thus, astrology was religious from its beginning. It was a form of divination by means of omens.
Of course, devotees of astrology today do not say that the planets are dwelling places of ancient gods. But their faith in astrology amounts to the same thing. Why so? Well, has not modern astrology branched off from that ancient Babylonian superstition? Is not a branch of a tree still part of the tree? Also, what essential difference is there between believing that planetary “gods” or planetary “forces” govern human affairs?
Astrologers may avow that their practice is a science, but we have seen that evidence does not support their claim. The fact is that astrology today is nothing more than a modern offshoot of the pagan religion of ancient Babylon. Do you wish to become involved in such a superstition? If you do, what type of influence will it have upon you?