News, Pet Peeves, Philosophy

I didn’t want to have to do this

The recent breaking story of the reorder of the astrological signs has apparently caused a serious rift in our collective personalities.  I now feel the need to offer some insight that may help to soothe our fractured psyches.  Astrology and astronomy are not the same. defines astronomy as: “The scientific study of matter in outer space, especially the positions, dimensions, distribution, motion, composition, energy, and evolution of celestial bodies and phenomena.”  Astronomers are scientists.  If anyone would know whether the stars are now in different positions in the heavens from our viewpoint than they were 3,000 years ago, it would be them.  Precession is a scientific fact.  When admiring the Great Pyramids of Giza and gazing reflectively at the stars, you are most definitely not seeing the same sky as the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

Astrology, on the other hand, is defined by the same source as: “The study of the positions and aspects of celestial bodies in the belief that they have an influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs” (the emphasis is mine).  Astrology is, for all practical purposes, a kind of religion.  And as such, there are several different types of astrological mores such as Western, Chinese, Indian, Hellenistic, Celtic, the list goes on.  The “new” 13th sign, Ophiuchus, is actually currently in use in some forms of astrology.  And because it is a belief system, science does not affect it.  They are mutually exclusive in the same way that evolution and creationism are completely different “truths.”  One is based on science and the other is based on religious beliefs.

So, both the astronomers and the astrologers are correct.  The precession of the Earth has indeed caused the relative positions of the stars to be different from our viewpoint now than they were 3,000 years ago.  And your astronomical sign has not changed because of it.  And if you are a fellow Scorpio, please forgive me for having to blog about this and try to cut the people born under another sign a little bit of slack.  Patience is a virtue.