Well, it’s been a week! At the moment of writing, I suspect that my esteemed colleague and UK’s Astrological Journal editor Victor Santo Olliver is lying down in a dark room with a wet cloth on his forehead, recovering from no less than twelve radio interviews in the space of a few days, all devoted in essence to explaining why Ophiuchus is not and never has been a zodiacal sign.
If you have been hiding in a damp cave somewhere far away with no access to social media and have therefore not been exposed to the huge pointless fuss, first of all this short piece of mine from a previous Ophiuchus-fest will give you the bare facts of the matter. You may also wish to read a much longer, more erudite article by respected astrologer Deborah Houlding going into the issue in more depth.
Next, do read this Press Gazette piece in which Victor is quoted, which should give you some insight into the media’s generally hardening attitude towards astrology and the reasons for this.
I left a comment on Victor’s Facebook Page where he’d shared the above article, to the effect that what he had said was as ever, clear, accurate and to the point. I then went away and thought about the whole issue of why this especially frenetic attack by the media – producing many, many articles by a range of astrologers refuting what was being said – had flared up at this time.
For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts, with thanks to Victor for stimulating them:
In this time of uncertainty and fear we are living through, I can understand why in general terms the media are trying to root out inaccurate misrepresentation –or fake news – which is dangerous in the political and cultural sphere. However, it seems clear that using this as an opportunity yet again to attack astrology is just another example of the left brain versus right brain cultural wars which have intensified ever since the scientific revolution of the 17th century.
A long-term problem is that the left brain cohort have never taken the trouble to investigate the large differences that exist between two discrete types of astrology. The ‘astrology lite’ of the popular press – at its best! – is well written by intelligent and thoughtful people and helps to put the lives of we small individuals into the context of a meaningful bigger picture, if only for a few moments of reflection in a busy day.
This astrology fronts a deeper, more powerful in-depth practice requiring years of study and practice to master at any useful level; It has a 6000 + year old tradition upon which to draw in terms of observation of the interaction between our solar system and the collective/ individual lives of the humans who inhabit it.
However, the standard bearers of the left brain cohort e.g. Dawkins and Cox, have never taken the trouble to embark on any in-depth study which would reveal the power and value of that astrology which lies behind its popular mask.
I was an astrology dismisser myself many years ago, until I took the trouble to embark on some serious study of the art and science which is astrology (since its major strength lies in combining right and left brain perspectives on the human condition) and have been a practitioner ever since. Until ignorant and prejudiced people decide to exhibit a little humility in properly investigating a deep and powerful field of knowledge before dismissing it, I fear we astrologers are not going to make any progress in reducing the increasing levels of prejudice which are being directed against us.
My own personal approach to this, and I know it is the approach of many fellow astrologers whose work I respect, is to ‘hold the line’ as it were by demonstrating through respectful, ethical, and well-informed and trained practice, an in-depth astrology which has been helpful and enlightening to innumerable numbers of people throughout history.
I think that engaging with an increasingly polarised and nasty public debate on this is pretty futile; all we can usefully do is set a good example by quality practice, as I have said above.
However, in the spirit of exchanging views, agreeing to differ, and not vilifying one another in the process, I realise that not everyone shares this view!
700 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2020
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see About Page
10 thoughts on “Some thoughts on yet another Ophiuchus astrology-bashing episode …”
This old chestnut tends to resurface during the ‘silly season’, driven by those whose knowledge of astrology is zero and who have no intention of raising above that level.
Yes, unfortunately I so agree with you…
Gail Taylor :
Thanks for the update – just love it. Being stuck in a dark cave in Australia & not following social media, I havent been aware of Ophiuchus saga doing the rounds again until I read about it here. Being a mercury conjunct & mars square pluto, I have finally learned to turn the power base around & ask the misinformed person what they know about the science & art of astrology. Have they studied astrology, & of course I can never resist pointing out that Carl Jung himself studied astrology in order to debunk it, only to become an astrologer himself & use it in his work. So if they havent studied the subject then obviously they are making uninformed decisions based on personal bias & not fact! 😂
Thanks, Gail, from that interesting-sounding dark cave! Yes – ‘… if they haven’t studied the subject then obviously they are making uninformed decisions based on personal bias & not fact!…’ This is blindingly obvious to us, but the dismissers are blindingly oblivious to it… Do keep dropping by – you might be amazed at what further discoveries await you!
I like your thinking 🙂
Thanks, Jennifer! I always think it’s worthwhile putting those episodes into a bigger context…
I worked at several astrology camps and discovered 2 really good reason for astrology. 1st if one is unable to talk about oneself then astrology allows one to go around saying ” well my star sign says” and secondly one can get up in the morning and go around kicking people and saying ” well my Mars is conjoining with Pluto” and people on site are understanding and do not criticise because “it is in the stars”
Mark, astrology neither permits nor prevents anyone from doing or saying anything. It is a model for analysing and (hopefully!) amplifying our understanding of individual and collective human behaviour. If people do not take personal responsibility for their behaviour and project it onto something or someone outwith themselves, that is a matter of personal choice which is nothing to do with any particular analytical model whether astrological or otherwise…
Moreover, your comment bears absolutely no relation to what I have been saying in the above post.
Well said Anne, maybe one day we shall find that people look a little deeper. It’s always baffles me why Mythology is a respected topic but astrology isn’t.
Thanks, Carole – yes, well, we have to be optimistic! Yes, that baffles me too…