Oh My Stars

matthew currie astrology compatibilityIt’s always a bit touchy whenever I meet someone for the first time and they ask what I do for a living. After all, most people who are into astrology can usually keep it hidden in the event of encountering someone who might not take well to it. Some people are opposed on religious grounds — in which case, I refer you to this article on the subject.

Others, however, like to distance themselves for logical reasons — or so they like to think. The truth is though that the most common arguments against astrology are relatively easily dismissed. Learn the counter-arguments, and get ready to make someone think twice!

Here are the most common objections you’re likely to encounter:

-“Nobody has proved that astrology works, or how… therefore it can’t work.”

For the record, no one was able to isolate the mechanism by which aspirin works until 1971. Not knowing how prostaglandins work never stopped anyone from taking the stuff, and never stopped it from working. Why? Because it works. And astrology doesn’t draw anywhere near the scientific research funding that aspirin has. This probably says a lot more about how the economics behind modern science works than it does about the science (or lack thereof) of astrology. Or aspirin, or anything else.

-“Because of precession, people who say they are Aries are really Pisces. So there.”

Precession is the wobble in the Earth’s rotational axis, and it’s a really great scientific-sounding term. There’s no easy way to describe it: just get a top and spin it, and watch it wobble. The same thing happens to the Earth on a much larger and slower scale. The net result to an observer on Earth is that a person born around March 25th 2000 years ago would have seen the Sun actually line up with the beginning of the constellation (not the “sign,” there’s a difference), and a person born on that day now would see the Sun about two-thirds of the way through that constellation. This is the difference between the Tropical Zodiac (which most Western astrologers use) and the sidereal Zodiac (which is largely used now by Vedic astrologers). And those two Zodiacs are very distinct and different parts of the sky, and both schools of astrological thought work wonderfully. They also work differently.

“Signs” are the divisions astrologers make in the sky. “Constellations” are patterns of stars that appear to make pictures from our perspective here on Earth. They’re similar, but ultimately they are two different things.

Put another way: if your natal Mars and Uranus are 90 degrees apart, you could call those points in the sky (Five degrees Sagittarius and five degrees Virgo,” or you can call them “18 degrees Scorpio and 18 degrees Leo,” or you could call them “Fred and Ethel Mertz.” Regardless, you still have a Mars-Uranus square, and you should watch your blood pressure regardless of the terminology.

If you are confronted with the precession argument, your best response is likely to be something like “Yes, astrologers have been watching the sky for a long time now, and noticed that. Now, what do you say the difference is between an Aries and a Pisces, anyway?” The truth is, most of the people who will argue against astrology understand their arguments against it a lot better than they understand the thing they’re arguing against.

-“There are more than twelve types of people in the world, and they’re going to have more than twelves types of day, so there.”

…and of course, anyone with a basic understanding of astrology will point out the importance of the Moon and Ascendant and the other points in the chart. If you decide to take up smoking and crossing the street without looking both ways, it’s no guarantee you’ll die earlier than otherwise. But, you know, statistically speaking… those activities aren’t good ideas.

Ready to move on to the Advanced Course in Defense Against Skeptics? CLICK HERE for the first of a three-part series, in which I wander into the lair of the James Randi Educational Foundation and return… well, kind of unimpressed, really.

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