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Recent Searches:. Author Write something about yourself. By the Faculty of Astrological Studies had added to its code of ethics the following anti-forecasting clause: "I undertake not to use my Diploma qualification [DFAstrolS] in connection with Sunsign forecasting for the media.
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But despite these band-aids from the bastions of astrological education, in in the Astrological Journal the sun sign controversy flared up again, repeating exactly the same issues that had been debated twenty years previously. Dennis Elwell summarised the situation as follows, ending with an eloquent plea for action:. The response was "Live and let live. Can you imagine the medical profession being indifferent to quacks in its midst? It would have been appropriate if the recently formed association for professional astrologers had grasped this nettle, but alas.
It is time to fight astrology's corner. The failure to be vigilant has made astrology an easy target for hijacking by various vested interests, and the failure to represent its unique vision of reality with sufficient force and understanding has offered a soft underbelly to its enemies.
Subsequent letters Astrological Journal May through November confirmed that nothing had changed in twenty years. Over sun sign forecasts and delineations there was the same violent disagreement, even the same call for a Government Health Warning, but this time it was made worse by an evident blind eye for research results. Elwell's plea for action was ignored. Some examples:. We need less sun-sign astrology, not more. In fact the same violent disagreement becomes evident everywhere the matter is raised. For example, three years later, in response to the AFAN forum "that sun-sign astrology provides helpful information to the general public", one astrologer in Hawaii felt that:.
The feedback I get is that everybody reads my columnms and finds them to be quite accurate. If we want astrology and astrologers to be respected, we have to stop peddling these half-baked, half-truth fortune cookies to an increasingly skeptical public. We cannot have it both ways. Where we came in: More disagreement in the AJ Two years later, when the Astrological Journal 's new editor Robin Heath noted that sun signs were both "our greatest sign of astrology's acceptance Dennis Elwell kicked off by reinforcing his previous arguments to make it quite clear where the responsibility for regaining respect lay:.
It is difficult to see, at this late stage, how the damage can be undone. There is a crying need to make the general public more astrologically literate We are ready to complain when science trivializes and misrepresents us, but are strangely silent when the trivialization and misrepresentation comes from within our own ranks. Others in the same issue supported Elwell. Veteran astrologer Sheila Geddes feels that those who "lend their names to sun sign columns are prostituting astrology" page Valerie Jeffery says "as long as astrologers who should know better keep churning out these columns, we will have to put up with misrepresentation" page But others disagreed with Elwell.
Mavis Klein says that "a very good case can be made for the primacy of sun signs in categorizing people Anthonly Owen says that "to attack sun sign astrology is in fact to attack all astrology, as it is based on exactly the same principles" page Paul Mayo says that the boost to astrology's popularity due to sun signs was a huge plus, so Elwell's letter "still leaves me with the feeling that our attention is inadvertently being misdirected. But apart from agreeing with Elwell after all, Mayo presented no suggestions on how this miracle might be achieved. Later, guest editor Prudence Jones raised the same questions about validity as we had in the s, pointing out that signs remain a particularly sticky problem for astrologers, let alone for outsiders:.
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Do they do so in fact, or is this wishful thinking? Some astrologers justify the signs taking, usually without explanation, the Sun in the signs as their exemplar as shorthand for seasonal characteristics. But this implies that their order should be reversed in the southern hemisphere, which seldom happens. And what, in any case, of horoscopes for equatorial latitudes, whereseasonal change is minimal, but where, of course, astrology was invented?
But perhaps the most radical and thought-provoking view came from Bernard Eccles, President of the Astrological Lodge of London and also a newspaper astrologer, who pointed out that 1 the sun-as-character concept did not exist before the s, 2 it was introduced in the s by Alan Leo, and 3 it has been accepted ever since by every astrology textbook:. It completely disregards the world-view which held from classical times through until the seventeenth century, which was that Man stood on top of the Earth but below the stars, while God was above all.
Instead, it suggests that Man is at the centre of all things The Sun-sign philosophy of Alan Leo has given astrology what it needed to survive and to grow through the twentieth century.
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As astrologers and astrology enter the new millenium, it IS the future. Such a view may or may not be right, but the absolute disagreement among astrologers clearly remains. In short, a quarter-century of debate has achieved absolutely nothing.
Cynics might see this as par for the course. Richard Dawkins's attack on astrology The views in the previous section had been sparked by Richard Dawkins's attack on astrology "The real romance in the stars", Independent on Sunday London 31 December pages , which among other things argued that "astrology [especially sun sign astrology] is neither harmless nor fun, and that we should fight it seriously as an enemy of truth" page The article with four added footnotes was reprinted in Astrological Journal 38 3 , , May-June , with a two-page introduction by AA President Nick Campion, who noted that the attack "stunned the astrologers who saw it.
There have been a number of sceptical criticisms of astrology Yet Dawkins' unremitting assault was notable partly on account of its length, partly on account of the stature of its author. The points made by Richard Dawkins can be summarised as follows.
Nearly all are relevant to sun signs:. Dawkins's article led to a flood of letters to the Independent , which in many ways are more interesting. The flood began on the following Sunday 7 January page The editor of the Independent introduced them as follows: "Astrology: fact or fraud? When Professor Richard Dawkins attacked astrology as an "aesthetic affront" [page 17 rightmost column near top] and an "enemy of truth" [page 18 second column from end] in these pages last week he provoked one of our biggest postbags.
Readers wrote in large numbers to challenge his arguments and his evidence -- and his conclusion that professional astrologers should be jailed for fraud. The points raised by each letter provide an interesting cross-section of views from an educated British public, and can be summarised as follows one line per letter.
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Most of them are relevant to sun signs, and most of them find fault with Dawkins's arguments but this might of course merely reflect the editor's selection bias :. Much of it reads like satire, eg "Taurus -- wear loud tasteless colours, and buy a venomous pet such as a rattlesnake", "Virgo -- investments are likely to sink without trace especially if your stock-broker is Aries, Gemini or Pisces". The flood of letters continued but the next issue 14 January had room for only two, albeit perhaps the most insightful two of all.
The first asked how supposedly rational people can become so upset by such trivia. Will reports of babies starving by the thousand prompt "a similar surge of purple-faced spluttering public outrage? Sadly, I doubt that it will. Such as "The hoary old advice that you should not reject astrology until you can prove it is false the same goes for Father Christmas , that it is close-minded to take a firm negative stance but open-minded to take an equally firm positive stance , or that it is rude and intolerant to take issue with people's convictions, however absurd -- all these predictable, yet depressing, responses say something about the intellectual climate in which we live.
As we shall see, our armchair invitation was in effect designed to inspire proper open-mindedness and critical thinking. The bottom line We have seen how the astrological community remains sharply divided over sun sign columns. In effect the disagreement is about whether using actual sun signs as opposed to simply making it up makes a difference to the validity of forecasts and delineations. But regardless of the answer, the bottom line is this: if half the astrological community peddles what the other half sees as nonsense, and the latter does nothing about it, then astrology becomes a sitting duck.
The Canadian astrologer Donna Van Toen puts it this way:. Of course they do, because we've trivialized it for them already. But we keep on doing those columns. Because they pay If we want to be seen as credible, maybe we have to quit displaying our work in incredible places. Which is easy to say. In Sperling op cit counted 11 syndicated daily columns, 22 weekly and 6 monthly sun sign columns in English-speaking North America. The return to the Syndicate was probably the same, so it had an easy zero-risk way of making money for virtually no work.
Similarly in the UK. Today the return to astrologers from a newspaper column-plus-phone-line can corrupt absolutely. According to various reports summarised in Astrology , 62 2 , , over , calls a year are logged by Sydney Omarr's phoneline in the USA, and over , calls a year by Mystic Meg's in the UK. If each sign needs up to say 20 lines to cope with demand, then these figures can be multiplied by or more. Either way, the reputed annual income of half a million pounds each for top column astrologers Russell Grant, Jonathan Cainer and Shelley von Strunkel seems plausible Sara Villiers, "Born with stars in their eyes", Scotland on Sunday , 21 January , page 9.
For such sums maybe you too would happily sell astrology down the river.
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And even if not, the newspaper which takes a similar cut surely will. The Sunday Times for 29 December page 8 carried a league table of the most successful newspaper promotions during The top ten included a sun sign supplement by The Mail on Sunday , which added , to the circulation, and a twin feature on astrology and on diet in the Sunday Express , which added , The easy money to be made makes one thing certain -- if the demand exists then someone will meet it. Sun sign columns and their minders are not going to go away.