Thursday, April 9, 2009

Astrology is Not New Age

This was the title of a post I made recently on an astrology message board, and wow...what an uproar it caused!

My points were that astrology pre-dates the New Age movement and is therefore not an offshoot of the New Age movement.

(Just for illustration - the roots of astrology go to 3000 BC or so. The roots of the New Age movement go to the 1800s AD.)

Because the New Age movement has taken certain old school things like astrology under its umbrella - along with things like crystals, herbs, massage, yoga - there is quite a lot of permeation of astrology with New Age beliefs by astrologers who hold those beliefs, in whatever form.

To the point that a lot of people are not aware that astrology and New Age ideas are not one thing.

On the message board, people argued that the two were inextricably linked. Or chose to argue all around the subject.

You're not objective! (Of course not. Never said I was. I made it clear I was not New Age and had problems with the New Age movement.)
You're a bigot! (Erm...I wouldn't turn this into a religious persecution thing.)
New Age is not a movement! It's indefinable and means different things to different people! (Honestly, that whole "everything is subjective" thing is a common New Age argument and kind of a cop-out.)
Define New Age then! List all the New Age beliefs! (Gack. Did the best I could on that one, but are you serious? You think I have the time or inclination to spoon feed you all that information?)
These are old ideas, not New Age! (I didn't say the ideas were anything new. I'm talking about the spin on these old ideas, the use and application of them today by the current New Age movement. For example, the "law of attraction" becoming so widely popular through sale of The Secret and now its sequel Beyond the Secret.
You're making generalizations! (Yes, well, I've had a massive number of interactions with people who hold New Age beliefs, and there are definite commonalities. Such strong commonalities that I can generally tell if someone is New Age within a minute of speaking with them. When you stop presenting these commonalities, I'll stop talking about these commonalities.)

And on...and on...

How can we create an astrology that does not include the law of attraction, one poster asked, somewhat rhetorically?

To which I replied, we don't need to create that. It already exists.

The same poster argued that the "cornerstones of astrology" are based in New Age so astrology cannot be separated from New Age.

Again, not true.

Where is this supposed non-New Age astrology that you speak of, she asked?

Right in front of you, I said. I'm not New Age and I practise astrology. Again...this is my basic point. That other forms of astrology exist.

To me, the fact that people are even arguing this shows a need for clarification.

It's fine to combine astrology with New Age ideas. But to not acknowlege your own context? To claim that this is the only form of astrology that exists? And then to dodge my actual points with a bunch of diversional arguments?

Finally, I realized...hey! It's not my responsibility to educate people or to go over the minutiae of my subjectivity so that they can find some fatal flaw. I wasn't asking anyone else to do that. I also wasn't trying to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I was just trying to put forth my perspective as a breath of fresh air for people who feel similarly. Agree or disagree...really makes no difference to me.

Honestly, I know this is a subject most people couldn't give a rat's ass about. And I really do wish I would stop having interactions with New Age proponents that show me the need for some critique and balance of perspective. But I have to call 'em as I see 'em. What's the point of a blog otherwise?

Sometimes I have to share my perspective even though I know it will cause the shit to hit the fan...actually, it seems especially in those cases. hahaha

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