Astrology Makes a Comeback!
His Majesty’s ladylove lay dead. The grief-stricken king summoned before him the astrologer who had predicted this tragedy. Filled with murderous intent, the king said: “You pretend to be so clever and learned. Tell me, what will your fate be?”
“Sir,” he replied, “I foresee that I shall die three days before Your Majesty.” Quick thinking saved this astrologer’s life!
WHETHER this story is true or not, it does illustrate the fact that in previous centuries astrologers were taken quite seriously, even by ruling monarchs. Regarding Louis XI of France, one historian wrote: “A swarm of astrologers . . . preyed upon his fears—and his purse.” During the 15th and 16th centuries, astrology’s popularity reached its peak in Europe. Even prominent scientists believed in it.
Astrology’s rising star, though, soon began to fall. “One glance through the telescope,” admits the book Astrology—The Celestial Mirror, “and a whole cosmology was blown away. . . . Astrology was cast out by the rising authority of scientific reason.” European universities banned it. And by the turn of the 20th century, historian Bouché-Leclercq described Western astrology as “definitively dead.”
Over 30 years ago, a Gallup poll in England revealed that only 6 percent of those polled believed in astrology. Now 80 percent reportedly do! And magazines, TV programs, and newspapers report a growing public interest in astrology in other countries. “The first thing I read when I get my newspaper,” one South African man told an Awake! correspondent, “is the stars.”
Why such a rebirth? When asked why she and others consult astrologers, an Italian woman answered: “Too many things in this world are going wrong.” Yes, we live in “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) And some people feel that astrology gives them needed guidance. Astrology’s star has thus risen again. Books on the subject have proliferated. The expression “What’s your sign?” has become a popular conversation opener. Some individuals even refuse to date if they do not have compatible “signs.”*
For all their popularity, though, astrological predictions are still based on a rather dubious premise: that the positions of the sun, moon, and planets at the time of one’s birth reveal both one’s personality and one’s future. Nevertheless, professional astrologers do not hesitate to write out horoscopes ranging from a few lines to many pages—depending on how much one is willing to pay. According to the magazine Psychology Today, “millions of dollars are spent on casting horoscopes.” Indeed, American scientist John Wheeler recently lamented that his country could “afford 20,000 astrologers and only 2000 astronomers.”
So strong is astrology’s comeback in Western nations that the late Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote: “It knocks at the doors of the universities from which it was banished some 300 years ago.” In fact, a number of Western universities now offer courses in astrology. ‘Could there be some truth to astrology?’ a person might ask.
Each year the sun is thought to pass 12 groups of stars called the constellations of the zodiac. Each constellation has its “sign.” The sign the sun happened to pass when you were born is reckoned to be your sign, say astrologers.