Astrology, formerly thought to be the domain of New Agers trapped in the 1970s, is experiencing a renaissance. A rising number of people are looking to astrology to help them gauge relationship compatibility, comprehend friendship dynamics, and make life decisions, particularly millennial women. What, though, is causing this surge in popularity? Ali Roff Farrar explores and discovers that, perhaps, we’re all simply looking for answers in a confusing world…
What role does astrology play in modern society?
It is an important part of our past, present, and future lives. Astrology is used to foretell and predict future occurrences to a large extent, and it can also be utilized to resolve any mishaps caused by planetary positions.
What is the history of astrology’s popularity?
The popularity of astrology grew as a result of the New Age movements of the 1960s and 1970s, which included it. Millennials and Generation Z have developed a new fixation with zodiac signs as a result of the modern resurrection of this bohemian culture over the last five years or so.
Why are so many people obsessed with the signs of the zodiac?
“People want a symbol system that isn’t sexist, racist, or homophobic,” Dr. Freed adds. “Astrology has really gained in popularity because people want a symbol system that lets them relate to each other across all demographics.”
When did Zodiacs start to gain popularity?
Pop astrology arose in the late 1800s during a period of new-age study, and was driven in the twentieth century by advances in psychology. Alan Leo, an English esotericist, popularized the idea that your solar sign reveals your personality in the 1890s. He was a member of the Theosophical Society, which examined spiritual traditions of all kinds seeking insight that could help society progress to the next level. This period was dubbed the ‘New Age.’ Leo justified his astrology reduction by claiming that it was for the greater good of humanity. In the 1910s, his writing attracted enough attention to result in multiple judicial challenges for unauthorized fortunetelling.
In the first part of the twentieth century, the sun-sign method of astrology grew in popularity through newspaper columns, and blossomed when New Age became mainstream in the 1960s. “Sun-sign astrology domesticated the universe at a time when astronomy learned that our galaxy was one minuscule dot among billions in a continually expanding universe,” historian Nick Campion writes. People found it consoling to think of their personalities reflected in the sky when contemporary technology made humans appear smaller and more insignificant than before.
Is it true that many believe in astrology?
Christine Smallwood’s fascinating piece, “Astrology in the Age of Uncertainty:
Astrology is currently experiencing widespread popular acceptability that has not been seen since the 1970s. The transition began with the introduction of the personal computer, was expedited by the Internet, and has now reached new levels of speed thanks to social media. According to a Pew Research Center poll from 2017, about a third of Americans believe in astrology.
Astrology, like psychoanalysis before it, has infiltrated our collective vernacular. At a party in the 1950s, you could have heard someone talk about the id, ego, or superego; now, it’s normal to hear someone explain herself using the sun, moon, and rising signs. It isn’t just that you are aware of it. It’s who’s saying it: folks who aren’t kooks or deniers of climate change, who don’t find a conflict between utilizing astrology and believing in science…
I ran a short Google search and discovered the following Pew report from October 2018:
The religion breakdown was the only thing that surprised me about this table.
I had the impression that mainline Protestants were the rational ones, but they believe in astrology at the same rate as the overall population.
But, hey, I guess they’re ordinary Americans, so they have average American ideas.
Only 3% of atheists believe in astrology, which is also unexpected.
This makes sense, yet it seemed reasonable to me that someone may not believe in God but believe in other supernatural things: in fact, I could see astrology as a type of replacement for a traditional religious system.
But it appears that is not the case.
Brian Wansink has been compared to an astrologer who can make astute observations about the world based on a combination of persuasiveness and qualitative understanding, and then attributes his success to tarot cards or tea leaves rather than a more practical ability to synthesize ideas and tell good stories.
Does Brian Wansink, on the other hand, believe in astrology?
What about Marc Hauser, Ed Wegman, Susan Fiske, and the rest of the bunch who call their detractors “second-string, replication police, methodological terrorists, Stasi, and so on?”
I doubt they believe in astrology because it symbolizes a rival belief system: it’s a business that, in some ways, competes with rah-rah Ted-talk science.
I wouldn’t be shocked if famous ESP researchers believe in astrology, but I get the impression that mainstream junk-science supporters in academia and the news media feel uncomfortable discussing ESP since its research methods are so similar to their own.
They don’t want to be associated with ESP researchers because it would devalue their own study, but they also don’t want to put them under the bus because they are fellow Ivy League academics, so the safest plan is to remain quiet about it.
The greater point, however, is not astrology believing in and of itself, but the mental state that allows individuals to believe in something so contrary to our scientific understanding of the world.
(OK, I apologize to the 29% of you who don’t agree with me on this.)
When I return to writing on statistical graphics, model verification, Bayesian computation, Jamaican beef patties, and other topics, you can rejoin the fold.)
It’s not that astrology couldn’t be correct a priori:
We can come up with credible hypotheses under which astrology is real and amazing, just as we can with embodied cognition, beauty and sex ratio, ovulation and voting, air rage, ages ending in 9, and all the other Psychological Science / PNAS classics.
It’s just that nothing has come up after years of rigorous research.
And the existing theories aren’t particularly convincing: they’re speculative world models that may be good if the purpose was to describe a real and enduring occurrence, but they’re less so without actual data.
Anyway, if 30% of Americans are willing to believe such nonsense, it’s no surprise that a significant number of influential American psychology professors will have the kind of attitude toward scientific theory and evidence that leads them to have strong beliefs in weak theories with no supporting evidence.
Indeed, not only support for specific weak theories, but support for the fundamental principle that pseudoscientific views should be treated with respect (although, oddly enough, maybe not for astrology itself).
P.S.In defense of the survey respondents (but not of the psychology professors who support ideas like the “critical positivity ratio,” which makes astrology appear positively sane in comparison), belief in astrology (or, for that matter, belief in heaven, gravity, or the square-cube law) is essentially free.
Why not believe these things, or not believe them?
Belief or denial in evolution, climate change, or unconscious bias, on the other hand, can have social or political consequences.
Some opinions are purely personal, while others have a direct impact on policy.
I have less patience for famous academic and media elites who aggressively support junk science by not just expressing their trust in speculative notions supported by no real data, but also attacking those who point out these emperors’ nudity. Furthermore, even a hypothetical tolerant, open-minded supporter of junk sciencethe type of person who might believe in critical positivity ratio but actively support the publication of criticisms of that workcan still cause some harm by contaminating scientific journals and the news media with bad science, and by promoting sloppy work that takes up space that could be used for more careful research.
You know how they say science corrects itself, but only because individuals are willing to correct themselves?
Gresham’s law is also true, but only when people are willing to distribute counterfeit notes or money they think is counterfeit while keeping their lips shut until they can get rid of their wads of worthless stock.
P.P.S.Just to be clear:I don’t think astrology is a waste of time, and it’s possible that Marc Hauser was onto something real, even while faking data (according to the US government, as mentioned on Wikipedia), and the critical positivity ratio, ovulation, voting, and all the rest…
Just because there isn’t enough evidence to support a theory doesn’t mean it’s untrue.
I’m not trying to disprove any of these assertions.
All of it should be published someplace, along with all of the criticism.
My issue with junk science proponents isn’t simply that they advocate science that I and others perceive to be rubbish; they can also be wrong!
However, they consistently avoid, deny, and oppose valid open criticism.
P.P.P.S.Remember that #notallpsychologists.
Of course, the problem of junk research isn’t limited to psychology in any way.
Professors of political science, economics, sociology, and history, to the extent that they believe in astrology, spoon bending, or whatever (that is, belief in “scientific paranormalism as describing some true thing about the natural world, not just a “anthropological recognition that paranormal beliefs can affect the world because people believe in it), this could also sabotage their research.
I suppose it’s not such a big problem if a physicist or chemist believes in these things.
I’m not attempting to shut down study into astrology, embodied cognition, ESP, beauty-and-sex-ratio, endless soup bowls, spoon bending, the Bible Code, air anger, ovulation and voting, subliminal smiley faces, or anything else.
Allow for the blooming of a thousand blooms!
Given that a sizable portion of the populace is willing to believe in scientific-sounding notions that aren’t backed by any good scientific theory or evidence, it should come as no surprise that many professional scientists hold this viewpoint.
The repercussions are especially evident in psychology, which is a vital field of study where theories can be hazy and where there is a long legacy of belief and action based on flimsy data.
That isn’t to say that psychologists are awful people; they’re merely working on difficult challenges in a field with a long history of failures.
This isn’t a critique; it’s just the way things are. Of course, there is a lot of excellent work being done in the field of psychology. You’ll have to work with what you’ve got.
Do famous people believe in astrology?
The majority of Bollywood actors are astrologers. To gain a strong foothold in the Bollywood firmament, the actors believe that luck and star alignment are essential. Astrology is seen by the celebrities of B’Town as a means of obtaining luck and success. Actors frequently assume that numerals and alphabets have a significant impact on their screen lifetime.
Ekta Kapoor, the CEO of Alt Balaji and Telefilms Balaji, is an astrologer who believes in numerology and astrology. And Manoj Bajpayee, the OTT platform’s No. 1 hero, is the latest to openly declare his belief in astrology.
calculates and interprets the movement of planets. It isn’t predicated on wild guesses. Several Hindu households consult their astrologer before making major decisions.
In Islam, astrology is also a belief. Their forebears believed that the movement of the stars, sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies might influence the lives of individuals who lived on the planet, as seen through the eyes of India’s best astrologer. Their confidence in astrology has diminished through time, and currently just a few people believe in it. It all depends on the individual. A person who is strictly religious in Islam may not believe in astrology, whereas someone who does not believe in any religion may trust it.
In terms of astrological believing, Christianity is the only faith that stands out. The Bible specifically condemns people from trusting astrology. Despite this, the western world has many astrologers. They claim that the Bible has been misinterpreted and that it warns about individual people’s faults. When compared to a nation like India, Western countries have significantly fewer astrologers. This also reveals how little Western countries trust in astrology. People were already distrustful of astrology, and the Bible just supports their doubts. As a result, only a small fraction of Christians believe in astrology.
It may be assumed that India is a top country in terms of astrological believing. More than half of the population has consulted an astrologer at least once in their lives. Because Hinduism and Islam are both prevalent in India, it’s safe to suppose that astrology adherents are as well. Astrology performs a fantastic job at describing the future as well as offering answers to issues.
Individuals’ belief systems vary, and it is their personal discretion whether to believe in something. Despite its age of 5000 years, astrology still flourishes. This reinforces our faith in astrology.
Some relevant facts:
- The hostility of some devout religious believers dates back to a time when priests and religious leaders attempted to interpret and mediate all religious experiences from their positions of authority. Before the development of male-dominated organized religion, our predecessors sought heavenly inspiration directly from the stars and thought themselves to be an intricate part of an active universe unfolding.
- Anyone could use astrology as a tool and a belief system based on an enchantment with the divine orchestrations of the heavens. Astrology presupposes the existence of an unlimited and purposeful mind that pervades the skies and the earth in a grand symphony of meaning, rather than the worship of a particular deity or leader.
A client’s confidence might be boosted with the help of a trustworthy, neutral astrologer. I’ve helped several customers reclaim and activate their religious roots through a chart analysis, guiding them toward the power that comes with following a religious path.
For some people, religion is a cornerstone of psychological and mental well-being. Astrological principles and practices are free of sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression, unlike many organized faiths. Even the classic astrological metaphors of masculine and feminine planets and energies have been reinvented as non-gendered receptive and active energies. Every individual, like every planet and star in the sky, has a firm seat at the table of the universe.
This is a large issue, and I’m not sure if I’ve offered enough material to tie everything together. Please keep an eye on my column for more information on this topic in the future.