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Astronomy vs Astrology

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Not people know this, and it isn't widely publicized by professional astronomers, but both astronomy and astrology come from the same place. Many thousands of years ago, our ancestors looked up at the night sky and noticed the lights up there. Some were bright, others dim. Some seemed to stay in the same place night after night while others seemed to move. Gradually, since human beings are naturally curious, these observers began to try to correlate events in their own lives with the movement of these lights in the heavens. This is how astrology was born. Just as people in different parts of the world developed different languages, so did they develop different systems of astrology. As the centuries passed, these observations became more systematic and scientific, and astronomy was born. Many people don't know this, but some of our greatest early astronomers, such as Nickolas Copernicus, who came up with the idea that the Sun and not the Earth lay at the center of the solar system, were actually astrologers, just as Sir Issac Newton, who was to the 17th century what Albert Einstein was to the 20th, was actually first and foremost an alchemist, who tried to find ways to turn common substances into rare ones, like gold.

Why then is there this hostility between astronomy and astrology, which can readily be seen by reading the articles in such magazines as Sky and Telescope and Astronomy. I believe that this is basically due to a number of misunderstandings. For one thing, professional astronomers, most of whom have Phd. degrees, don't like to be associated with the astrology columns that appear in popular magazines and tabloids. They rightly point out that there is no way one-twelfth of the population of the world can possibly have the same kind of experiences on a given day just because they were born in the same month. The misunderstanding here is that true astrology actually consists of far more than one's 'sun sign'. There is also the position of all the other planets and stars. The geographical location where one is born also plays a very significant role, as does the time of birth. Even a difference of a few minutes in the birth time of two individuals can make a vast difference in their astrological charts.

A more serious objection to astrology, astronomers say, is that there is no way that it can possibly work. The gravitational force between a child being born and his mother, they say, is many times larger that the force between that child and the sun, moon, or any other body in space, and in this they are absolutely correct. The key thing to remember is that astrology doesn't work by gravity. It doesn't say that the sun or moon has a direct physical effect by gravity or any other means; it just says that when 'A' happens up in the sky, 'B' is likely to happen here on earth. It's similar to the 'synchronicity' theory of the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, who noticed that sometimes events occurred in the lives of his patients at the same time that were connected., but that this did not have any rational explanation. We sometimes use the word 'coincidence' to refer to this phenomena, but Jung would say that there are no such things as coincidences.

To sum up, there is no reason for astronomy and astrology to be at war with one another because they come from the same place, even though they now deal with different things. We should also remember that, just because we may not yet be able to understand how a particular thing works, that doesn't mean we should assume that it can't work. After all, science still doesn't understand how a hummingbird or a bumble bee can fly.

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