The Guardian’s Jessa Crispin is upset that contemporary astrology is just feel-good self-help nonsense, as opposed to real astrology which is just centuries old mumbo jumbo.
As someone who has studied astrology and the esoteric arts, I am here to give you my expert opinion on this trend: this has absolutely nothing to do with astrology. It’s just a new wave of self-help.
Throughout history, astrology has been deeply intertwined with religion and spirituality – because its concerns were often religious and spiritual. How do I live a good life? Why am I suffering? What do the gods want from me? And yes, a lot of people just wanted to know when they were going to fall in love, and leaders like Elizabeth I and Ronald Reagan just wanted to know when it was the best time to go harass the poor people again, but every major religion has at one time or another used astrology to ease communication between earth and the heavens and show its followers where their free will collides with the vagaries of fate.
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Divorced from its religious framework, then, astrology just becomes a form of self-help. How should I dress as an Aries rising? What music does my Scorpio sun want to listen to? And, as in self-help, everything bad that happens is just a lesson or an opportunity for growth. It’s the same line of thinking that gets you to “Cancer is a gift”. If you’re struggling financially, maybe you have some money karma to resolve. If you’re lonely, maybe you’re just not “showing up for yourself” romantically.
Are we on the verge of a great schism in astrology? Will vapid self-help platitudes replace long-standing vapid pronouncements of the “esoteric arts”? Let a thousand nonsensical charts bloom!
The best part of this bizarre piece has to be the author’s description at the end which reads, “Jessa Crispin is the host of the Public Intellectual podcast.” That’s a bit like seeing a tagline that reads, “Jared Kushner is host of the Intelligentsia Podcast.” I guess listeners are using very low values of intellect as a guide.