Who’s Afraid of Astrologers?

Lock up the astrologers! Or at least stop them making their predictions. In ancient times astrology was a respected science and a resource relied upon by the rich and powerful who would consult their astrologer before making major decisions – anything from getting married to waging war. However, in more modern times astrology fell  into disrepute in what was ‘the Age of Reason’. However, we are now in an astrological renaissance thanks to the discovery of new planets, many universities  now offering astrology graduate and post-graduate degrees, and more and more people becoming aware that that Jung was open about the fact he used astrology when working with this patients. Thanks to mass media and the internet, we can now say on many levels, astrology is more popular than ever.

When it comes to history and how astrology (and astrologers) have faired – here are some fun facts you may not be aware of.

1: Lock up the astrologers! In June 1941 Hitler ordered that all astrologers in Nazi Germany be locked up as their activities were considered subversive and not in the interests of the state. Obviously from our 21st Century perspective we can understand why he didn’t want astrologers predicting the outcome of the war . . .

2: However – the British House of Commons while not locking up astrologers, revealed themselves to be just as intolerant. A year later a conservative MP asked whether the then Minister of Information would ‘stop astrologers predicting that Germany was on the brink of collapse’ – to which the Minister replied: ‘No sensible person takes their predictions seriously’.

3: Astrology on stage! The 17th century English writer John Dryden took astrology seriously. His play An Evening’s Love: the Mock Astrologer was what we would call a romcom today. The plot revolved around a young man in Madrid who pretends to be an astrologer to win the heart of a senorita. What he doesn’t know is that her father actually is a professional astrologer and rumbles the fact he is a fake!

4: Hitler failed on more than one account. By 1948 astrology had regained its popularity in Germany to the point that a popular lecture on the subject could attract upwards of 500 people.

5: Astrologers once used the term ‘astral influence’ to explain transits but once Jung (an astrologer himself as previously mentioned) coined the term ‘synchronicity’ this was instantly adopted by astrologers. Jung explains synchronicity as ‘the connection of events may in certain circumstances be other than causal’ and that ‘we then have to assume that events in general are related to one another on the one hand by casual chains and on the other by a kind of meaningful cross-connection’. Sounds like planetary influences playing out via transits to me!

6: Dance of the planets. British choreographer Frederick Ashton and composer Constant Lambert created a ballet in 1938 called The Horoscope. The ballet tells of two star-crossed lovers who are kept apart by the personalities of their ruling planets – one is a Leo and the other a Virgo. However – they are eventually reconciled by the efforts of Gemini (who shares a ruling planet with Virgo namely Mercury) and the Moon.

7: We’ve all heard about the police calling in psychics on occasion to help when their investigations have stalled. However, perhaps one day we will see astrologers consulted too. As far back at 1962, the then Chairman of both the Cheshire Police and Magistrates Court, Charles Cornwall-Legh gave an interview to the press where he said: ‘I look forward to the time when it will be standard practice to have available for magistrates an interpreted horoscope of every child charged with a serious offence.’ Of course, we could add that perhaps an interpreted chart for anyone charged with a serious offence no matter what their age, could have a major influence on sentencing and the justice system.

There is no doubt about the fact that astrology has courted both fascination, derision and controversy. But it’s been around for thousands of years – and its longevity and continued relevance tells us we’re not about to let go of our fascination for it – whether people believe in it – or not.

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