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
As far back as ancient times all the way through middle ages, Astrology was as close to science as people got. While yes, there was a lot of mysticism associated with it, they still observed and cataloged the sky to try and make sense over what was happening above them.
A great example of an ancient civilization equating the stars with seasonal patterns was Ancient Egypt, who associated Aquarius reappearing in the night sky every spring with the Nile’s annual flooding – which they believed was water pouring from his jar.
It is safe to say that ancient astronomy and the astrologers of those civilizations led generations to study the sky and find the patterns, which ultimately led to people rigorously trying to figure out how things really worked.
Were any of the pioneering astronomers up until the Renaissance period practicing any forms of astrology themselves? Yes – including Ptolemy, Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo.
Astronomy (the science) breaking away from astrology (the mysticism) 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.
I Respect There’s Many Cultures That Have Differing Astrology 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 Ancient Egyptians, 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! And when it’s all based on the WRONG information… then it loses more credibility with people like us.
I know and have met a few people who genuinely believe in Astrology – they either visit the Observatory or I’ll meet them out in the desert, or in some cases, sell my prints to them!
If an astrologer wants to stay hard nosed adamant on basing their horoscope charts on the ancient assigned dates, while I’ll try to be nice about it, it won’t stop me from thinking that they’re not adding any credibility.
But at the same time – If horoscopes, charts, and tarot cards are your thing, and/or if astrology is part of your spiritual 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! If it helps amplify your enjoyment of the cosmos and gets you wanting to look up, observe the sky, and learn the science – much in the same way ancient astrologers used to do, then I’m cool with it. All we ask is that you keep the mysticism away from the science discussion – same thing with any religion or faith.
I don’t get irritated by genuine astrologists who at least try to base their beliefs on the right information. The same applies with those who practice other forms as part of their culture or theological beliefs, like many Hindus do. I can respect it.
When I once presented the astronomically accurate information regarding a buyer’s sun, moon, and rising signs, and buyer replied with “oh, it makes more sense now, I need to tell the others they’re using the wrong information!” That is something I also respect. There is nothing wrong with changing your stances when new information gets presented!
Where I do get irritated are from three 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, then they retract their statements and claim “oh I don’t really believe it.”
The second 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.
The third type are those, whether genuine astrologers or not, who will make extremely checkable claims and pass them off as facts. Let’s look at this following gem that I’ve preserved.
The above tweet was COMPLETELY INCORRECT, and I could smell the cattle manure a mile away! All one had to do was consult a stargazing app that shows you the positions of the sun, moon, and stars on any given day in the past, present, and future down to the second, and see that at no point in February 2021 were all seven planets within the constellation Aquarius.
So just remember… if you’re reading this and believe in astrology – as long as you understand that those correlations have no scientific backing, but still are fascinated by the science itself and want to learn more about the cosmos, then I personally don’t have an issue. I encourage everyone of all faiths to look up and observe the sky!
But still, it’s not necessarily a good idea to go up to an observatory, or meet an astronomer and ask, “what’s your sign?” If you do that… Sure, I’ll be patient and polite, but others will get visibly irritated. You don’t use a baseball mitt and bat in an ice hockey game and vice versa… therefore you just don’t bring horoscopes to the science discussion.
Some might say taking the mysticism away ruins the beauty and wonder of the sky and the universe. That is something I also strongly disagree with. Perhaps you should read this following passage that I wrote:
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