An Astrological Civilization

Thanks to the current proliferation of blogs and vlogs that magnetize hundreds of thousands of dedicated followers, we are now witnessing astrology’s explosion into mainstream media and culture. As the appeal for traditional religious institutions diminishes, astrology and other spiritually oriented practices become both an alternative and a refuge.

Originally published in the March 2022 Equinox edition of the Career Astrologer magazine
View Original Article – Page 32

Sun sign columns, which had previously been the primary access to astrology by the mainstream, have now evolved into elaborate reports that involve more intricate astrology terms and concepts. The public is integrating a new astro-vocabulary by learning about such phenomena as eclipse effects, lunations, and the Saturn return, and so it comes as no surprise when such fare as “Mercury Retrograde Protection Candles” become the hot items sold in gift shops.

Consider the two quotes below from respected contemporary magazines that demonstrate the growing interest in astrology.

Business Insider: As Insider’s Barbara Smith previously reported, revenue for astrology apps grew to nearly $40 million in 2019—a 64% increase, according to data from SensorTower. Per IBISWorld, “mystical services” grew by 1.4% from 2016 to 2019. The industry, as a whole, is worth $2.2 billion. (1)

The New Yorker: The corporate world has taken note of the public’s appetite. Last year, the astrologer Rebecca Gordon partnered with the lingerie brand Agent Provocateur to produce a zodiac-themed event where customers could use their Venus signs to, in Gordon’s words, “find their personal styles.” This spring, Amazon sent out “shopping horoscopes” to its Prime Insider subscribers. (2)

As astrologers are enjoying the benefits of widening exposure, I’ll explore here prospects for the near future, and then also, the deeper cultural shifts that are already unfolding from the influence of astrology.

In the short term, the growth of pop astrology is evoking in response a greater interest and investment into more comprehensive educational programs. With such programs, astrology is evolving into a profession that promises a sustainable income, such that lovers of the craft no longer must wait for retirement to be able to practice it and support a family. People may choose to study astrology as their first professional orientation, right out of high school.

BRIGHTER LIGHT, LARGER SHADOWS

With the presence of bolder light comes larger shadows. A significant threat to the integrity and honor of astrology is a misuse of the craft, especially in its superficial application. As people give more credence and meaning to their chart but lack more thorough understanding, we become vulnerable to cliches, prejudice, and simplistic interpretations that carry a potentially negative impact on people’s lives.

For examples of such misdirection, we can simply turn to social media walls and threads where you find daily a cacophony of comments to statements or questions like, “Should we date Geminis?”…or… “Pluto in your 7th house means your spouse will die” … or … “Is my two-year-old daughter going to be a gambler?”

Other examples, in Chinese astrology, the sign of the Dragon is favored, while the Goat is perceived as weak, leading to higher and lower birth rates in China during those respective years, reflecting the prejudice against children born under these signs. Dragon years see a boost in the economy because people feel more confident to make significant purchases.

This form of misuse has always existed, but in the West, only within the limited spectrum of hobbyists. The notable proliferation of astrology carries the potential that such prejudices and misinformation can corrupt people’s thinking in ways that engender greater anxiety, self-loathing (“my chart is terrible”), and discrimination. Such are the perils of too much “little knowledge.”

Further down the negative path, astrological techniques can be used with uncanny accuracy but with malevolent intent—abuse, and even violence and war. We are already familiar with situations where astrologers use their expertise to manipulate clients, along the lines of: “Your chart suggests you have sexual blockages, and I can help!” \

Another pitfall could show itself in the employment arena. We have seen astrological understanding applied well in the context of vocational guidance but could also lend itself to discrimination against job seekers. For example — “people born with Mars-Pluto oppositions in their chart need not apply.” This form of discrimination may not be disclosed but, still, operating in the wings.

SAFEGUARDING THE USE OF ASTROLOGY

In today’s relatively small pool of astrology practitioners, mistakes and misuse can more easily be brushed off. There are no legal parameters yet in place to protect practitioners or clients, as we still enjoy the benefits of operating on smaller scales and under the radar. Yet, as astrology’s reach keeps expanding, a lawsuit for malpractice is around the corner, leading to a potential crackdown that could damage the whole profession.

Identifying these imminent risks at this stage can help us avert potentially unfortunate consequences. We are the generation that can establish specific parameters to safeguard astrology from misuse. If astrology practice is now growing from adolescence to adulthood, the following measures will ensure not only its survival but its meaningful growth:

  • Astrological consultation should remain largely in the hands of the professionally trained.
  • Those who identify themselves as professional astrologers ought to be certified by reputable schools (private or non-profits) and teachers.
  • Astrology schools should be approved by non-profit, international, standard-setting organizations.
  • Certification for astrology practice must include sound ethical training and consulting skills, in addition to comprehensive education in chart analysis.

AN ASTROLOGICAL CIVILIZATION

Astrology’s development is bound to reach new levels as the Neptune in Aquarius generation experiences the Pluto transit in that sign (Aquarius being associated with astrology). Pluto brings breakthroughs, wealth, and shadows, so we can expect pivotal “moments of truth” and important rites of passage in the next 25 years.

As the astrological profession becomes more widely embraced, we will explore the ways in which it may have profound effects on our civilization, similar to the ways in which technological advances and cultural breakthroughs have created new templates of reality and corresponding challenges.

Imagine an Astrological Revolution where it becomes generally accepted that our lives are aligned with solar system cycles, that no occurrence is random, and that the universe is an intelligent design. How may this affect the collective state of mental health? Would people more easily find greater meaning to their existence?

Imagine recalibrating our calendar to match astrological cycles. Lovers Day would finally be moved from February to the Libra Equinox, presidential elections would occur on Solstices, Mercury Retrograde periods would coincide with retail discount and clearance sales.

Consider the integration of astrology with artificial intelligence and the rising concept of astrologically based algorithms that could inform any life decision with a range of optimal choice. AI could expand the breadth of astrological knowledge to unmatched levels.

And what of this intriguing speculation — would an astrologized world revolutionize science? Which will come first: will a change in science open the doors to validate astrology, or will astrology’s undeniable relevance challenge science to reconsider its foundational axioms?

There are many open-ended questions, but what seems certain is that astrology will continue to exert its meaningful influence for as long as planets and stars rise East and set West. We at OPA are honored to be among today’s custodians of a robust astrological expression and continue to support astrology’s integrity, discoveries, and useful proliferation in our world.

REFERENCES

1 https://www.businessinsider.com/astrology-industry-boomed-during-pandemic-online-entrepreneurs-2020-12

2 https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/28/astrology-in-the-age-of-uncertainty

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