“FROM the White House to Wall Street, astrology has never been more popular.” So begins a newspaper report on the public interest in astrology in the United States.
The reference to the White House no doubt brought to the reader’s mind the much publicized account by a former presidential aide. In his book For the Record, Donald T. Regan wrote:
“Virtually every major move or decision the Reagans made during my time as White House chief of staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise.”
Whatever else can be made of that account, it certainly did much to bring into the open the vast interest in astrology among people in the Western world, where modern science is supposed to have dispelled the last vestige of astrology. Consider these facts:
◼ According to the AFA (American Federation of Astrologers), there are about 5,000 full-time, professional astrologers and at least 50,000 part-time practitioners in the United States. Annually, fees paid for readings total about $35 million.
◼ “Each year in France . . . over 10 million persons consult one of the over 30,000 officially recognized astrologers or mediums,” says Toutes les Nouvelles, a weekly Parisian magazine.
◼ Horoscopes are a regular feature in 92 percent, or more than 1,500, of the daily newspapers in the United States. In Germany, when a daily newspaper, Weser Kurier, neglected to print the horoscope column one day, phone calls were received from readers “who did not know whether to stay home or go out for the day, whether to invest their money, and if so where.”
◼ More and more astrologers are turning to computers. Astro Intelligence of Switzerland, for example, can provide a 20-page horoscope analysis on computer printout at a cost of 55 Swiss francs ($36, U.S.). One well-known British astrologer sends out over 20,000 computerized personal horoscopes a year at about £10 ($18, U.S.) each. Even dial-a-horoscope telephone services are becoming available now in cities like New York. New York Telephone Company reports about a million calls received each month.
Why the Fascination?
In this age of self-fulfillment, anything that promises to provide better insight into the meaning of life or better understanding of self is bound to be welcomed. Thus, in the words of an observer, one of the reasons why people are attracted to astrology is that “it claims to tell you about the most important person of all, yourself.”
But does astrology really do this? And, most important, do the stars really control our lives? Let us take a closer look at this phenomenon.