How can an atheist be an astrologer? How can I be hanging out in the threshold of the woo closet under the mistletoe and still just say there’s no higher power? Isn’t this all part of the claptrap of belief?
You can live without belief in higher powers and still be an astrologer.
Atheism and astrology are compatible. Atheism is to have no gods, not to have no beliefs or to have no spirituality. And yes, many of us who are not aspiritual materialist atheists are generally not invited to sit at the same lunch table as these guys (and frankly, many of them are too self-absorbed and too impatient with other people to be good company to anyone but their individual selves while thinking they’re “saving” humanity from stupidity), but we still exist on the margins, because one can have beliefs without having the one particular belief that a god exists.
Everyone has beliefs if all the parts of their brain work. You believe that you’re safe in bed when you lock the door at night. Usually. You believe the money in your wallet has value to other people. You believe that the friend you’re about to text this blog post to will be interested in some way. You believe that the arrangement of all these letters of the Latin alphabet represent something specific, and that enough people share that belief that they mean something specific, so therefore, they do.
And atheists can have very specific beliefs. There are atheists who believe it’s important to share the message of atheism, and without it, Richard Dawkins would just stay home with his whiskey and Bach.
Belief doesn’t belong to religion or spirituality.
Astrology need not be divine or religious. It need not even be spiritual. Energy is the alpha and the omega. It never dies, and it creates all things. It need not be assigned personhood and called “god.” One’s need to make sense of the things one perceives doesn’t mean that it’s the result of thing that wants your attention. As I may have mentioned before, I just don’t have the same ability that others do to “perceive” a god and sense a presence of a divine thing as others apparently do, no matter what the circumstance, outside of self-delusion in order to belong.
Oh well. Did you also know that some people think cilantro tastes like soap?
The planets are not gods but other things affected by other things in the universe, and the movement of these planets as they are perceived on Earth is one way that energy is expressed…as perceived from Earth. This movement coincides with other things that appear to be related or to have a theme as they move in time in a rhythm and pattern.
Those themes we observe as astrological signs. Once upon a time, hundreds, thousands of years ago, those signs, each 30 degrees of the 360 degrees observable of the heavens in two dimensions, had corresponding constellations that became symbolic of the themes. No, none of the constellations actually look like the thing they represent. The Ancient Greeks totally new that. In fact, the constellations are really kind of arbitrary; it’s the nature of the energy of fixed stars themselves that have the importance and the season or energy represented that matters. You could connect the dots any way you want, idly or in a frantic John Nash sort of fashion, and you can come up with all sorts of interesting patterns, none of which become astrological signs.
Most Western astrologers do not use the tropical zodiac, by the way, which is constellation = sign. There is no thirteenth sign, even if there is a constellation between Scorpio and Sagittarius called Ophiuchus. You could re-draw all of the constellations and it still wouldn’t matter because there are 30 degrees in 12 signs, roughly 12 solar months, or what is known as the sidereal zodiac.
I use the sidereal zodiac because the myths do not create the cosmology, but rather the cosmology creates the myths, and the symbols are created by humans to help describe what they experience and observe.
And if you ever think to tell me that you’re an Ophiuchus, just go ahead and tell me you’re a piece of shit instead.
Okay, is that harsh? Every year, some rookie wannabe journalist rehashes this old “Oh noes 13 signs lol wut !!!1” and then astrologers remind people that there’s no 13 sign, shut the fuck up and sit down because your Sun sign is still whatever it is.
Oh, and not every astrological practice uses a sidereal zodiac or recognizes a thirteenth sign even if they do. Poor Vedic astrologers are often left out in the cold when someone brings up the stupid notion that the “signs have shifted.” The dumbasses who keep writing about the non-existent 13th sign pretty much never consider that there’s other cultures with their own long, rich, and expansive astrology
Which is why if you write an article proclaiming that there’s a 13th sign and everyone’s Sun sign has changed, you’re a Eurocentric bigot.
Just so you know.
Actually, I think we should take advantage of the lazy activism of cancel culture for something good for once and make that a real thing so people stop publishing annoying articles about Ophiuchus.
Signs cannot “shift” because they are mathematically determined. Constellations can “shift” because they’re an arbitrary assortment of stars observable on Earth that are subject to the forces of the universe.
That’s the end of it.
Astrology is a misnomer. Astrology is the study of the Earth.
The energy that affects the planets affects us, and the first thing we can observe with certainty is the planets in the heavens. We created myths, we made correlations on Earth and created a cosmology based on these things. We share these basic ideas with all humans, and we are all affected by these energies in generally the same way.
The energy experience is a subjective one occurring on Earth, which is why the horoscope is geocentric. Humans live on Earth and experience energy on Earth. They are shaped on Earth. They die on Earth. Until someone is born on the Sun, there need not be a heliotropic natal chart (though they can be created). That anyone believed that the solar system was geocentric comes from the same subjective experience of the people born and dying on Earth. It’s what they observed and their experience from their place here.
Why a Birth Chart? Why not a conception chart?
All of these things, all of these things come same from energy that made the matter, and it is not about having first appeared in the real world so that others may see you, but that one comes into personal autonomy when one comes out and is affected directly by the world.
Imagine the trauma of birth: forced out of the only place you know, listening to your mother and others in distress, your wet head hitting the coolness of the ambient air — coolness, something you have never felt before. What is that sensation? — and then your head being grasp, turned, feeling yourself being moved for the first time by something else that is not you or your surrounding host body. Something else can apply energy and change you! Then light. Then noises. You can see them. You can hear them. Then falling out, cold and wet, into a universe where nothing makes sense and you are powerless to do anything about it, and there’s no going back.
This is the beginning of autonomy, of being directly affected by the energy of the universe filtered through no other person. This when you come into personhood.
Yes, some of you think that personhood begins at conception, but what actually happens at conception is formation. One egg, one sperm, a new cluster of cells growing and changing, implanting itself in the host body, perhaps to be one of the ones that make it to viability, since most do not.
Yes – if every fertilized egg is a person, then every womb is a graveyard, because most fertilized eggs don’t become more than an experiment, a roll of the dice that doesn’t land on lucky 7. And there’s nothing the woman can do about it, because that’s actually the nature of things, and it therefore must be what the god intended when he created sexually reproduction as a game of odds.
Ask me sometime why I feel like Qanon is this generations’ Right to Life movement and why I hate both.
Oh, and smarty pants: there is such a thing as a conception chart, known as a prenatal epoch. I use Bailey’s method, but the Rosicrucians and other astrologers have their own methods, but they’re mostly the same technique. The trouble is that you need a birth chart in order to go back and make a conception chart.
How could this all be possible without a creator to make it happen?
What makes you think that any of this must be deliberate? Isn’t the fact you exist is just part of a game of odds your parent played by having sex isn’t enough to convince you that there is no interested creator lovingly placing all the hairs on your head?
But would anything need a creator? By itself, the glacier takes the path of least resistance, carves out valleys and becomes a river to bring nutrients to the soil so that the apple trees grow, and just because you like the taste of apples doesn’t mean that something made this all happen just so you can have a thing you like. It looks like order because it is order, but that order only looks deliberate because you’ve got a cerebrum that lets you do that kind of thinking.
Part of sentience and having an ability to perceive other minds means thinking everything is about us or could potentially be about us because that’s part of how we adapt and survive. If you didn’t take that growling, circling, angry sabertooth’s behavior personally, you might not live to engage in the game of odds that gives you an opportunity to make babies. If you didn’t tke that growling, circling, angry cave neighbor’s behavior personally, you might not live to engage in the game of odds that gives you an opportunity to make babies with his wife again.
But that doesn’t mean everything is actually about us, or for us, or done to us.
If the same forces and the same matter created the thing and the eyes that behold the thing and call it beautiful, can’t it just be beautiful without having an artist to sign it? The relative orderliness you see just made it possible for you to come into existence and have the senses and the brain to perceive the order. It’s far from perfect, but the odds of any of this are so amazing that I think that’s enough to be in awe of the entire material universe simply for what it is.
The forces and the matter also made your brain that looks for explanations to things. The forces and matter made the human who lives among humans who augment forces and matter to make things in the imagination come into existence, and right now, it seems natural in a human mind that all things we can perceive as being made or orderly must come from the deliberate actions of something human-like.
And that’s an interesting development in humans, and one of the reasons we need to believe that there’s a god, or ghosts, or “karma” in the colloquial sense, or whatever else we’re into.
But even if it was all “created,” and somehow we were created to know that we’re special in that we know we benefited from this creation, what do we owe the creator?
That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. The answer is nothing.
But how could the relative position of the Sun, Moon, and planets have a special meaning just for me?
The don’t. You’re unique, but you are not your own creation. Horoscopes are generalizations, some more general than others, and unless you’re getting a natal chart reading, you’re not really getting a real picture of your astrological blueprint.
Look at this way: say all Aries Sun are Volkswagen Passats. All Volkswagen Passats are designed in such a way that the windshield fogs up quickly. It doesn’t mean that a particular windshield on a particular Volkswagen Passat will fog up, however, or that it will do it all the time. For example, lets say this Aries Sun has a Sagittarius Moon. All Moons are places cars can be driven. Say Sagittarius Moon are cities in the desert. Not going to have as many problems with the windshield fogging up in Albuquerque as you would in Houston, right? So, just because it’s hot and raining in Houston and the windshield on a Volkswagen Passat in that city fogs up doesn’t mean that a Volkswagen Passat in Albuquerque’s windshield will also fog up.
Sun sign horoscopes were actually created as a gimick in the late 18th centry by astrologer Alan Leo as a means to get the public more interested in true astrology, at least in part to keep people from throwing astrologers in prison and burning us like witches.
And it worked to a certain extent: we’re not tried for witchcraft anymore, but most people don’t go further than the horoscope.
You may know about the Barnum effect and the study in which students were handed a very bland “horoscope” that they could all agree with because it said blandly nice things about them. That didn’t disprove astrology. It just proved that people want to believe blandly nice things about themselves. The experiment was obviously not done with a real astrological reading by a real astrologer, because astrology is a whole lot of not nice, even if we live in a era where people are confusing the ancient art of astrology with spiritual masturbation.
But in reality, you’re not actually as big or as important as you think you are, so the fact that you think there’s a special meaning for you is part of your human folly. The Moon cycles affecting the tides, your emotions, your appetite, and the amount of moisture collecting on the inside of your Volkwagen Passat don’t have special meaning for you. That special meaning originates as a little electrical pulse in a brain in one human out of billions, on one planet, in one solar system, in just one galaxy, in just one universe.
Your grandness as a child of the universe only happens because you’re made out of the same stuff that makes and moves the tides, that makes it possible for you to have emotions. You are made of the same stuff as stars, as planets, as Volkswagen Passats. The fact that you think the very same little energy wave that coincides with human observations of our Moon is somehow special to you originates entirely in your brain and stays entirely within your brain.
How can the little energy wave have such a huge impact as to make me who I am?
Because in reality, while your personality is unique and the most important thing you personally will always have, your personality is not that big a thing. You aren’t a big thing.
You’re tiny, and your personality is even smaller in the grand scheme of things.
That doesn’t mean you’re not special. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I mean, I probably don’t love you, because I don’t even really know most of the people who read my blog as a lot of you seem deterred that I screen my comments, but don’t think you’re not special. You’re both itty bitty AND special, and both are my subjective observations.
But even those observations are just itty, bitty things.
For example, your preference for one type of hobby over another is just a tiny, invisible electrical impulse happening in your brain in the space between the synapses of your nerves. It’s one of millions, billions of electrical impulses throughout your brain and your nervous system. That’s the same for every other human that has ever lived. To a more or lesser degree, these electrical impulses are happening throughout the bodies of other organisms. You couldn’t count them. Even if you’re totally insane and tried to do it anyway, they would come and go too quickly for you to observe. Even with so many of them happening all at once, you can’t see them, you can’t hear them, you can’t particularly retrieve them for another observation, and you can’t even really feel them physically.
They don’t have matter. I mean, they matter, subjectively, but they do not have substance that will help you perceive them, and that’s fantastic, because if you could imagine how cluttered the world would be if everyone could just imagine things into material existence. And what if you couldn’t imagine things out of existence either?
I would just imagine that in my little studio apartment alone, there would be hundreds, thousands of versions of different men who have broken my heart, each simulacra in some way different from the other. Some versions would be more idealized, more handsome, smarter, taller, stronger, kinder, cleaner, more affectionate and funnier than other versions, none of them quite the actual man himself, all of them sitting around this room, struggling for room to move and breathe, bodies piled on top of each other, looking in amazement at each other, wondering what I must have been thinking or feeling at the time that I created them, especially for the ones that are dead.
And what if I simply forgot every single one of them in a heartbeat when someone else caught my attention? All of these changelings of mine up and gone and quickly replaced with simulacrum of some other man, none of them knowing how or why the walls and the furnishings came to be this way, though they might assume that I created those walls lovingly to protect them from the rain and the furniture to give them rest when they sit around wondering how they came to be and what magick brought them here, calling me their almighty God, seeking my love and fearing my wrath.
And yet that’s what’s going on in a portion of my mind all the time, and I don’t even pay that much attention to it when I’m focused on something else.
The fact that you’re an introvert, or you need exercise to relax, or that you have a thing for redheaded lawyers who are into astrology and started making their own chicken stock before it was cool or whatever else that seems really important to you is pretty much nothing, no thing at all, and even bigger things, like pandemics, wars, elections, and human deaths are still tiny things in the universe.
Because it really is that small. Because you really are that small.
So even a planet, which seems big to us, is also a really small thing affected by a particular energy, too.
Don’t get me wrong. We are all part of something enormous and we are all made of all the things that make up this enormity, but we are small, and the thoughts, emotions, reactions, and preferences and aversions we have are all very small things. They may be huge to you because they directly affect you, but in the grand scheme of things, everything about us is pretty small.
I personally don’t think that’s a bad thing. I don’t think that small necessarily equates to insignificant. I don’t think it’s hopeless to remember that we’re just a writer and a reader on Earth, one little remarkable planet in one solar system in one galaxy in one universe. To me, this is where I start to feel vestigial existential stirrings that I think is from the godsense that other seem to have. This is how I know that this is good, that it’s good to be alive because there is still wonder and curiosity.
And in the end, if you think I’ve just been wasting my life, and even I actually have, that’s kind of okay too, because I enjoyed letting my curiosity lead me to dead ends, as if such a thing could actually exist when the human imagination is involved. And yes, sometimes I do feel sad that I will never escape this planet and go into space or spend time on another planet. And sometimes I wonder if I actually am an alien observer whose sponsors have forgotten about her and have left her in the field permanently with all these crazy fucks who think ketchup tastes good and that weddings aren’t just tedious wastes of time and money and that I’ll just have to survive by my wits until the next ship arrives.
But I have come to realize that there’s a whole lot of us who have been left in the field on this place known as Earth, and we’re not all astrologers, or woo practitioners, or spiritual, or sober. But I’ve meeting a variety from this lot lately, and that’s enough to make me think that this is going to be okay, because some of those tiny electrical pulses are love, which defies explanation but makes the universe at once too big to comprehend and so small that it fits in our hands.
That’s about as close as I get to thinking a god exists, because if it’s not love itself, then I don’t think I even want to know what deity is behind any of this.
So you never actually explained astrology for atheists, you know.
Oh shit! That’s what you came here for? I didn’t realize. Oh, well, thank you for your patience.
It’s exactly the same as astrology for everyone else.