Amercian astrologers are better at predicting Democrat victories than Republican ones. And for many astrologers, Trump’s victory in 2016 was . traumatic. Not only did they predict that he would lose, but they also supported the other candidate. This is not surprising, because astrologers in the West tend to be liberal, and their view of the world will inevitably bias their predictions. So if you’re an astrologer, there is a good chance that you believe in some or all of the following:
Manmade climate change
A woman’s right to choose.
Treat people well and they’ll treat you well in return.
Humanity is evolving in a positive way.
Western countries spend too much on defence.
The government should play an active role in society and the economy.
The abolition of the death penalty.
The value of international organizations, like the Europe Union and the United Nations.
Violent criminals can be rehabilitated.
Marijuana should be legalized.
Relatively relaxed immigration policies.
You get what I mean. There is a cluster of beliefs that tend to characterize liberals, and Western astrologers tend to share these beliefs. However, I don’t think it has always been the case. In the 1980s many Reagan Democrats were sympathetic to astrology, and the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, got astrological advice from Joan Quigley. This advice may well have contributed to Ronald Reagan’s political success – he wasn’t called the Teflon President for nothing.
Possibly the main reason why astrologers parted company with the political right was religion. In the United States of the 1980s evangelical Christians had an increasing influence over the Republican Party. Astrology was another demonic new age practice, which could only lead to one place, and that was hell. This position has a degree of logic. The only way of entering the Kingdom of Heaven is through Jesus Christ, and if you look for spiritual enlightenment through other means you’re doomed. In terms of Protestant dogma, you cannot get to heaven through your own efforts, you can only get there through the Grace of God. Using astrology as a tool of personal and spiritual development is therefore at odds with evangelical Christianity, particularly if you use astrology to predict the future. After all, the only person who knows what is going to happen next is God.
Move forward into the 2010s and 2020s, and astrology is part of the rainbow coalition. It allows us to be whoever we like, and at the same time it can give us meaning in a post-religious era. Astrology doesn’t define us, instead we define the astrology that makes us feel comfortable. So it becomes part of the tool kit, along with yoga, reiki, crystals and blah, blah, blah. We can use it to expand our consciousness, and to transcend the divisions that Trump and the Republicans try to impose upon us.
Yet I would contend that to be an astrologer is to be a conservative. This is because astrology defines not only who we are, but also who we are not. If we believe in God, then the horoscope represents the hand we have been dealt. It shows the gifts and challenges that God has given us, and if we step outside the horoscope, and try to be someone else, we will never fulfill our potential. This is particularly the case if we regard astrology as a system that is handed down from generation to generation, with rules that were formulated over several milennia. If you have Venus in Scorpio retrograde conjunct the Sun and Saturn, your Venus is badly placed, and nothing can change that. The role of the astrologer isn’t to make the afflicted Venus go away, but instead to work out the best way of dealing with it. For example, by avoiding, mitigating or transforming the bad situations that this configuration will attract.
Outside contemporary Western astrology, we can see the fundamental conservatism of the profession. The country with the most professional astrologers has got to be India, and you can’t really understand Indian astrology without reference to the Hindu religion. Indian astrology reinforces Hinduism, and indeed can support its social structures. Hindu priests are often astrologers, and astrology can be used to select marriage partners. This might seem disturbing to the modern Western mind, but if you believe that astrology works, it’s logical.
Yet one thing that modern Western astrologers share with their Indian colleagues is a belief in reincarnation. I say this because every astrologer I have ever met believes in Karma and past lives. In other words, astrologers can’t be Christians, right? And they certainly can’t be Muslims. Yet if you go back 1000 years, there were some great Arab astrologers. The greatest was probably Al-Biruni, who lived in Afghanistan in the 11th Century AD. I think there can be little doubt that Al-Biruni had a conservative disposition. From his writings it would appear that he was a devout Muslim, who had contempt for mind-readers and magicians. He was particularly bothered by astrologers who claimed that they could tell clients about their previous incarnations: “I know of no method of dealing with them except insisting on exposing their vicious decrees and their leading the querent into crime by the bad advice given him”.
Another astrologer who was conservative in outlook was William Lilly. He was working in London, around the time of the English Civil War. He supported the Parliamentary side, though he was careful to hedge his bets. His magnum opus was titled Christian Astrology, and it was published in 1647, when England was increasingly under the control of Christian fundamentalists. Lilly made it clear that it was God that had the final say, and not the stars. He also seemed to accept St. Paul’s dictum in Romans Chapter 10 that we should respect the government. For example, he described how he used astrology to predict that William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, would be executed by beheading. Lilly wrote that although he was very sad about the execution, “I account him not a martyr, as one asse did; For by the Sentence of the greatest Court of England, viz. the Parliament, he was brought to his end”.
William Lilly, right at the beginning of his book, wrote “Nihil dictum, quod non dictum prius”. Which means nothing has been said that hasn’t been said before. This represents a very traditional view of the world. In terms of wisdom, astrological or otherwise, there is no point in trying to be original, because someone, somewhere, has said it before. Taken further, it questions whether modern humans are any better, or any more self-aware, from their ancestors.
Over the last few centuries every generation has had the arrogance to think that it is cutting edge, but it always dies away to do be replaced by something else. As astrologers, we are aware that planetary cycles repeat. There may be changes in technology and fashion, but humans are always the same, and any concept of evolutionary progress is fake – certainly of you’re measuring things in small periods of time, like centuries or millennia. This means that astrology can help us distinguish between the eternal and the transitory. When people get excited about global consciousness, people coming together, the wonders of human potential, you know it is just a phase. Or as Macbeth might have put it, “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. An astrologer should have seen Trump and Brexit coming, and a conservative astrologer shouldn’t have been bothered about it.
In fact, astrologers should be weary of liberals. One of the key features of liberals, particularly those of an intellectual bent, is that they don’t believe in God. They believe in science, unless science contradicts their social agenda. And they certainly don’t believe in astrology. Astrology is not going to pass any scientific test, whatever Michel Gauquelin might have discovered. Furthermore the academic elites that condemn the stupid supporters of Trump and Brexit will treat astrology with only marginally less disdain.
I do of course understand that a lot depends on what you believe in. If you believe that astrology can be whatever you make of it, that you can interpret a horoscope in whatever way makes you feel happy, then you’re not really a conservative astrologer. You should nonetheless be aware that you’re chasing a fad, which is not going to last forever. However, if your astrology is something handed down rather than invented, which describes society rather than reinforces your liberal overoptimism, then you might well be a conservative astrologer.