Astrology and Astronomy are two different things. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the heavens knows that, but the two words are often intertwined, which is a result of the English language.
In this article, you’ll read where someone like me stands on it.
Often times when I tell people I’m an astronomer, I get asked, “oh, so you’re into horoscopes and things like that.” No, that’s astrology…
One night, I showed a visitor my picture of Neptune with φ Aqr (Phi Aquarii), and she instantly recognized from the genitive star name being in Aquarius. “Oh I’m an Aquarius! What’s your sign?” I said, “well, my birthday is December 22, and according to the dates 2500 years ago, I’m a Capricorn, but based on the positions now, I’m actually a Sagittarius.” She said, “oh, so you’re basing it off of sidereal astrology?” “No, I’m basing it off the astronomical current position of the Sun on my birthday.”
This of course led to me explaining everything that I go over in this article, which they weren’t adamantly rejecting, but definitely weren’t totally convinced.
Let’s remember the basic thing:
- Astrology – which means “the study of stars,” has more to do with divine information about human and earthly events by studying the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars.
- Astronomy – meaning “the law or culture of the stars,” is more about the natural science behind how things happen in the sky and what causes them. This includes the aforementioned objects and beyond our galaxy.
The word astrology was used before science became the formal method of studying nature and the stars, hence why astrology eventually got the good name and scientists were stuck with the other name.
But as long as you understand that Astro-NOMY is about science and Astro-LOGY is not, then there’s no problems!
I Respect that Astrology predates Astronomy
For many centuries, Astrology was as close to science as people got. While yes, Astrologers did do the things that we still associate it with, they still observed and cataloged the sky. It led people to study the sky and find the patterns, which ultimately led to people rigorously trying to figure out how things really worked.
Ptolemy’s geocentric model from second century AD is still used to help understand what people believed at the time in an attempt to understand the heavens, and he was also a well renowned astrologer. Astronomers who pioneered the science during the Renaissance period, such as Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo still practiced astrology.
Astronomy breaking away from astrology did not happen overnight, it took centuries for this to evolve. Astrology started being pushed out of academia acceptance as early as the 17th century.
There’s Many Cultures That Have Different Sets Of Beliefs!
It’s not just what we consider western astrology, there are many cultures that have their own set of beliefs around it, such as the Chinese, Hindu, Medieval Islam, Babylonian, Mesopotamian, and Hellenistic civilizations. Many Native American tribes also have behaviors and cultures regarding the stars. For many of these civilizations, they had different star names and patterns when they mapped the sky.
I do like to learn about other cultures, and am more than happy to listen to someone share with me the stories and legends behind celestial objects. I have no issue being shared such beliefs, as I can always find fascination with it. But does it make me an astrologer? No.
Do I Believe in Astrology?
No… Absolutely Not!
With every naked eye object in the sky ranging anywhere from millions of miles to millions of light years away, I just do not believe that the positions of any object in front of any star causes your behavioral patterns or compatibility. Sure, we can believe in our morality, or good and bad karma, but the laws of physics and gravity that form planets, stars, and other galaxies have nothing to do with it!
As this article on the website has already discussed, when it comes to classic western astrology versus astronomy, the Sun is most likely no longer in front of your constellation anymore on your birthday… so that proves to me right there that star sign emphasis is just silly and pointless. To me it makes no sense to depend on horoscopes if the positions are incorrect and outdated!
I know and have met a few people who genuinely believe in Astrology – they do visit the Observatory! Most of the time, they’re younger women, and even after explaining the shifting zodiac dates, they’ll say, “oh there’s another type of astrology that accounts for that.”
If horoscopes and tarot cards are your thing, and/or if astrology is part of your theological beliefs, then who am I to tell you otherwise… As long as you respect that the two names/fields are two completely different subjects, then we have no issues! But if you push it as a science, then you and I will have major disagreements.
I don’t get irritated by genuine astrologists. Where I do get irritated are from two types of people. The first type are those who will say, “oh I’m not really into astronomy, I prefer astrology,” but when I show them that I know more about astrology than they do, they retract their statements and claim “oh I don’t really believe it.” The other type are those who will say, “nah, I don’t really believe that stuff.” But then I see their social media posts talking about compatibility issues with certain zodiac signs, etc.
And it’s just not a good idea to go up to an observatory, or meet an astronomer and ask someone, “what’s your sign?” If you do that, you’re just asking to be sternly lectured! Sure, I’ll be patient and polite, but others will get visibly irritated.
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