Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Astrology: Definition and explanations

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Astrology is the set (In set theory, a set intuitively designates a collection…) of belief systems organized in sight (Sight is the sense that makes it possible to observe and analyze the environment by reception and…) to obtain information on terrestrial phenomena from the observation (Observation is the action of careful monitoring of phenomena, without the will to…) of celestial phenomena. Particularly popular, it is also extremely controversial.

Astrology appears as a horoscope interpretation system (see the dedicated article). Its popular versions are the journal horoscopes or the affinities of the signs of the zodiac (The zodiac is the area of ​​the sky around the ecliptic where, seen from the Earth, the…) (see the article popular astrology ). If they are generally considered as distant and distorted echoes of historical astrology, they remain its manifestation and its most widespread expression. The popular use of the term astrology almost always refers to Western astrology, to which this article is mainly devoted. Articles devoted to astrologies developed in other cultures are proposed in draft form (see links at the end of the article).

Several meanings (SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is a scientific project which aims…) are attached to the very term astrology[1], the distinction of which proves necessary to clarify a certain number (The notion of number in linguistics is dealt with in the article “Number…) of debates. Indeed, some astrologers consider their practice only capable of describing an individual’s personality traits (The Wiktionary is a free and open source dictionary project similar to Wikipedia (both…), others claiming that it It is possible to describe the different paths of their life (Life is the name given :), even their distant future.

History of astrology

Historical origin

Going back to the highest antiquity and perhaps even beyond, astrology was born from the awareness of a relationship between the seasons and the apparent movement of the stars, leading man (A man is an individual of sex male adult of the species called Modern Man (Homo…) to deify them. These considerations then mainly concern an astronomical practice (which establishes a de facto correlation between the map of the sky (The sky is the atmosphere of the Earth as seen from the ground of the planet.) and the seasons) They lead to the formulation of the hypothesis that the movements of the stars are the very cause of these phenomena (and not a correlated phenomenon, a consequence of a common cause.) Therefore, the work ofobservation (Observation is the act of careful monitoring of phenomena, without the will to…) (calculation of ephemerides, production of calendars) is carried out simultaneously with a work, however distinct, of interpretation . The objective is to establish, on the model of astronomical observations, a certain number of conjectures on an influence no longer meteorological and calendar, but human (personality, destiny). This idea of ​​a symbolic correspondence between the celestial configuration and the affairs of the world (The word world can designate:) gradually led to the construction of an astrological symbolism (see separate article).

The different levels of interpretation (physical conjectures and human conjectures) cohabit for a certain time (Time is a concept developed by human beings to apprehend the…), then gradually go on dissociating. This development of practices will give birth to astronomy (Astronomy is the science of observing the stars, seeking to explain…) (which sticks to observation, description and calendar predictions) , leaving to astrology the esoteric aspects of conjectures on the links between the sky and the conduct of human activities.

Its support being the stars, astrology is one of the divinatory practices particularly widespread in the history of cultures. We can thus cite the specific existence of Mayan, Arabic, Egyptian, Chinese, and of course Western astrologies (which are mainly discussed in this article).


The first known writings concerning the stars date back 5000 years, in the form of clay tablets (Clay (feminine name) is a sedimentary rock, composed for a large part of…) on which were recorded all the records of planetary movements observed by learned priests of Mesopotamia [ref. necessary]. These observations were made in a religious context. The movement of the stars being perceived as divine will; priests or astrologers serving as translators. This can therefore be considered as the origin of astronomy.

From Chaldea, this astronomy-astrology spread to Greece after the conquests of Alexander the Great [ref. necessary]. From there it will spread throughout the Greek empire, India, Egypt and then to ancient Rome while becoming more structured , less religious and therefore more popular. The division (Division is a law of composition which associates the product of the first by …) of the sky into twelve zodiacal signs and the first known horoscope dates from the 5th century BC. J.-C. Egyptian priests) will make astrology the one of the foundations of medicine (Medicine (from the Latin medicus, “healing”) is science and …), associated with theory (The word theory comes from the Greek word theorein, which means “to contemplate, observe, …) of the four elements (In the context of natural philosophy, the theory of the four Elements is a…)[ref. necessary].

Parallel to this astrology, different systems are formed in China, in America (America is a continent separated, in the west, from Asia and…) pre-Columbian and undoubtedly in other civilizations. But Chinese astrology and Chaldean astrology are the only systems that have survived to this day. All currently known systems of astrology derive from one of these two systems (or both, in the case of Tibetan astrology). Chaldean astrology is however the one that has experienced the greatest diffusion (In everyday language, the term diffusion refers to a notion of…) and the greatest influence [ref. necessary].

The first masterful synthesis of astrology, the Tetrabiblos, was written by the Alexandrian Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus (in Greek: Κλαύδιος…) in 140, laying the foundations and principles of what would become Western astrology.

Middle Ages and Renaissance

The Last Judgment, painting in Byzantine Orthodox style on the walls of the Vorone monasteries?  built in 1488 in Romania.  On the left we see paradise with the saints and the Tree of Life, on the right the hells with demons and the fire which descends into the abyss and above the contemplative image of the Almighty Christ.  To the right and left of Christ are the signs of the zodiac.

The Last Judgment, painting in Byzantine Orthodox style on the walls of the Vorone monasteries? built in 1488 in Romania. We see on the left the paradise with the saints and the Tree (A tree is a terrestrial plant capable of developing by itself in height, in …) of Life, on the right the hells with demons and the fire (Fire is the production of a flame by an exothermic chemical reaction of oxidation…) which descends into the abyss and above the contemplative image of the almighty Christ. To the right and left of Christ are the signs of the zodiac [2].

6th century mosaic from the synagogue of Beit Alpha, Israel, depicting the signs of the zodiac.

6th century mosaic (A century is now a period of a hundred years. The word comes from the Latin saeculum, i, which…) from the synagogue in Beit Alpha, Israel, depicting the signs of the zodiac.

During the Christian period, astrology will know an ambiguous situation. Banished from society by the Church (The Church can be:), like all divinatory practices, during the Council of Toledo in the year 447, it was practiced in the royal courts, and continued to be studied by scholars, even religious (Albert the Great, teacher of Thomas Aquinas, is the author of a treatise on astrology). Charles V took care of astrology and founded in Paris a college (A college can designate a group of people sharing the same…) of astrologers. Louis XI consulted his people in all circumstances. Catherine de Medici had erected in her hotel (A hotel is an establishment offering a paid accommodation service,…) (Hotel de Soissons) a column from the top of which she consulted the stars with Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame, known as Nostradamus, born December 14, 1503 in…). Louis XIII was nicknamed the just, because he was born under the sign of Libra.

Astrology is also in favor under the emperors Charles IV of the Holy Empire, and Charles V had prescribed the teaching of this science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary…) , which many eminent men of the time advocated. She was honored in Rome under Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III. ) (Hôtel de Soissons) a column from the top of which she consulted the stars with Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame, known as Nostradamus, born on December 14, 1503 in…). Louis XIII was nicknamed the just, because he was born under the sign of Libra. Astrology is also in favor under the emperors Charles IV of the Holy Empire, and Charles V had prescribed the teaching of this science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary…) , which many eminent men of the time advocated. She was honored in Rome under Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III. ) (Hôtel de Soissons) a column from the top of which she consulted the stars with Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame, known as Nostradamus, born on December 14, 1503 in…). Louis XIII was nicknamed the just, because he was born under the sign of Libra.

Astrology is also in favor under the emperors Charles IV of the Holy Empire, and Charles V had prescribed the teaching of this science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary…) , which many eminent men of the time advocated. She was honored in Rome under Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III. he was born under the sign of Libra. Astrology is also in favor under the emperors Charles IV of the Holy Empire, and Charles V had prescribed the teaching of this science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary…) , which many eminent men of the time advocated. She was honored in Rome under Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III. he was born under the sign of Libra. Astrology is also in favor under the emperors Charles IV of the Holy Empire, and Charles V had prescribed the teaching of this science (Science (Latin scientia, “knowledge”) is, according to the dictionary…) , which many eminent men of the time advocated. She was honored in Rome under Popes Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Paul III.

During the Renaissance, the discovery of heliocentrism (Heliocentrism is a physical theory that places the Sun at the center of the Universe, or…) of the solar system (which paradoxically was imagined and defended by astronomers / astrologers of the time) comes to undermine the anthropocentric foundation of astrology which no longer finds its place in the new description of the world by science.

Pic de la Mirandole (then Jérôme Savonarola taking up his arguments) largely condemned it. We can notice that this is not the case of astronomers like Galileo (Galilée or Galileo Galilei (born in Pisa on February 15, 1564 and died in Arcetri near Florence,…) and Kepler who practiced astrology, from same as Tycho Brahe, or Cassini (The Cassini-Huygens mission is an automatic space mission carried out in collaboration by the…), the first director of the Paris Observatory (The Paris Observatory was born from the project, in 1667, to create an observatory astronomical…).

In the preface to his Rudolphine Tables, Kepler observes that astrology, mad as it is, is the daughter of a wise mother, and that the mad daughter is indispensable for supporting and supporting her mother. This was still true in the time of Kepler, who had to write horoscopes to earn a living. astrology, mad as she is, is the daughter of a wise mother, and that the mad daughter is indispensable to support and support her mother. This was still true in the time of Kepler, who had to write horoscopes to earn a living. astrology, mad as she is, is the daughter of a wise mother, and that the mad daughter is indispensable to support and support her mother. This was still true in the time of Kepler, who had to write horoscopes to earn a living.

In France, under the pressure (Pressure is a fundamental physical concept. It can be seen as a reported force…) from the Jesuits, Colbert removed it from academic disciplines and prohibited its teaching in faculties in 1666. The post of royal astrologer is suppressed at this time. A ‘Trial of justification of judicial astrology (BM. Angoulême MS 23) 1696 will never be published [ref. necessary].

In England (England in English) is one of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom….), it will not be erased from academic disciplines until a century later: Isaac Newton (Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 G – March 31, 1727 G, or December 25…) still studying it in university (A university is an institution of higher education whose objective is the…), “to see what he there’s truth”. In fact, the first lunar tables then calculated according to Newton’s theory, were first intended to be used for the observations of astrologers [ref. necessary].

Astrological glyphs representing the Sun, Moon, Pluto and the planets (including Earth).

Astrological glyphs representing the Sun, the Moon (The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth and the fifth largest satellite of the…), Pluto (Pluto, whose official designation is (134340) Pluto, is the second largest large planet…) and the planets (including the Earth).

From Enlightenment to Modern Times

Astrology is considered by Enlightenment thinkers to be the archetypal example of superstition, belief in occult and higher forces. For them, fighting astrology seems to be part of a general fight as well as a political commitment in favor of secularism and rationalism, against obscurantism. Quite paradoxically, their critical arguments against astrology appear less logical than rhetorical (use of mainly polemical[3] or authority[4] arguments rather than a reasoned approach).

At the very end of the 18th century, the era of triumphant rationalism, the divorce between astronomy and astrology was thus finally pronounced.

In the 20th century, astrology reappeared in almanacs, magazines, and then radio broadcasts. Astrology also finds a considerable place in the new age movement.

Its new versions claim to integrate the symbolic values ​​of planets orbiting beyond Saturn and asteroids as well as new theories: integrating modern knowledge, it seeks .) a symbolic approach based on psychology [ref. necessary].

The validity of astrology is beginning to be studied scientifically, in particular through statistical astrology (A statistic is, at first glance, a number calculated about a sample….), the results of which tend to invalidate the existence of the alleged effects (see below).

Current practices

At the beginning of the 21st century, astrology covers very different practices and approaches, to the point (Graphie) that it is more accurate to speak of astrology in the plural.

These astrologies exist in several forms which differ in their symbolism and the techniques used, and are applied to a large number of different objects. The symbolism of the stars and their movements is very flexible, being able to change according to the context (The context of an event includes the circumstances and conditions which surround it; the…) and the school of the astrologer. There are many schools: humanistic astrology, psychological astrology, conditionalist astrology etc. They also differ according to the objects or fields to which they are applied, whether for example in psychology, or as forecasting, in politics, in the stock market, in medicine. Each object (In general, the word object (from the Latin objectum, 1361) designates an entity defined in…

whether for example in psychology, or as a forecast, in politics, in the stock market, in medicine. Each object has its own symbolism and sometimes specific techniques.

If the basic data (In information technology (IT), a data is an elementary description, often…) of western astrology remains the establishment of a chart of the sky (see the article Horoscope ), this one is in constant evolution, which induces (The armature is a generally electromagnetic organ used in electrical engineering in charge of…) a certain number of divergences between astrologers. These divergences exist from traditional times, relate to different methods for calculating the positions of houses, referring to different schools of interpretation).

In the 20th century, astrology experienced a resurgence of interest with a new approach. Engineers, psychologists and statisticians approach this discipline using a scientific approach and means of research. See below.

Today, Western astrology can be divided into three branches:

  1. an individual astrology, which is interested in the birth chart of an individual,
    • either under the angle (In geometry, the general notion of angle comes in several concepts…) of his psychology to make him aware of himself (astrology strongly influenced by psychology and psychoanalytical approaches);
    • either from the angle of his life path, to indicate to him the different phases of his life, moments of transformation, and critical periods;
    • or from the angle of his relationships with others, by linking the birth charts of several people.
  2. the astrology of horoscopes, directly inherited from the Middle Ages, brought back into vogue by trade magazines in its popular version, which claims to predict the major trends of the moment for each astral sign. This astrology should probably be considered more from the angle of social phenomenon because it is extremely popular despite its fundamental vagueness (In music, the word fundamental can refer to several meanings.). For this reason, this caricature of astrology probably discredits “serious” astrology. Based (when seriously established) on a simplified version of the classic astrological models, the horoscope is generally considered by the public who is fond of it, as a simple distraction without implications.
  3. event astrology, whether it is to predict major events or the evolution of the stock market. Stock market astrology appeared in the mid-1990s. Its purpose is to predict the evolution of stock market indices as rigorously as possible. It is the economic and financial journalist Jean-François Richard (A journalist is a person whose professional activity is journalism. We speak…) who developed the concepts and techniques of stock market astrology.

Major controversy


The astronomer Copernicus in conversation with God.  Jan Matejko, 1872

The Astronomer (An astronomer is a scientist specializing in the study of astronomy.) Copernicus in conversation with God. Jan Matejko, 1872

Astrology has long been a subject of controversy and criticism (philosophical, theological, scientific (A scientist is a person who devotes himself to the study of a science or sciences and who…), epistemological). Essentially developed around Western astrology, the elements of the debates gradually generalized to all astrological practices. Sometimes condemned in antiquity (astrology, like all the divinatory arts, is prohibited by the Bible[6]), it is gradually rejected by science, which reproaches it for its lack of a rational basis. St Augustine, from the 4th century, (De civitate Dei”, VIII, xix) rises on this basis against the confusion made between astrology and astronomy.

This debate (A debate is a (constructive) discussion on a subject, specific or substantive, announced in advance,…) on the causes, although still present, has now been extended to an objective criticism of the reality of the effects described by astrologers. Currently, astrology is not recognized as a science, having no rational basis or experimental evidence, nor having the character of refutability necessary to be accepted as a scientific theory. Nevertheless, astrology advocates claim that their personal experience shows undeniable effects. A certain number of supporters of astrology admit that their discipline, not having a rigorous frame of reference (scientific methodology, recognized research, verified scientific publication, etc.), can constitute the field (A field corresponds to a notion of definite space:) of ideal action (In mathematics, an ideal is an algebraic structure defined in a ring….) for charlatans, fantasists and swindlers. These deviant practices appear to them to be likely to reinforce preconceptions.

From this observation, a certain number of analysis procedures and study protocols have been developed, intended to objectively shed light on the reality of the various phenomena (see the Nature of the phenomenon studied section).

Referring to the fundamental principle that there is no effect without a cause, science raises two major objections to the reality of the phenomena involved. The absence of effect (astrological predictions do no better than chance) and the absence of cause (there is no mechanism justifying any astral influence).
Systematic research (In the life sciences and in natural history, systematics is the science which has for…) effects which led to work in the field of statistical astrology . As for the absence of cause, prohibitive for a scientist, it is generally not received as a relevant argument by the astrological world, whose vision of the world is based on analogy more than on efficient causes.

Legitimacy and legitimation of astrology

In addition to the absence of demonstrated foundations (no causality identified, absence of objectively observable recurring effects) and the development of these psychological explanations, numerous criticisms have emerged (The day or the day is the interval which separates sunrise from sunset; it’s the…) as to the efforts made by a certain number of astrologers to artificially legitimize their discipline. Similar to what Collins and Pinch have shown in parapsychology, a small community of astrologers can be said to “mime” the attitudes of the scientific community. They perform scientific-type experiments, they publish their results, and they try to give them visibility (In meteorology, visibility is the distance at which it is possible to… ) social. They thus try to constitute a scientific community starting from a field relating to traditional beliefs. We can see here the effects of the scientificization of our society, where science is becoming an essential source of legitimacy. The critical term of pseudo-science, characterizing practices which “verbally” claim scientific rigor without applying its principles, can therefore be applied to astrology.

Difficulty of dialogue (Dialogue is communication between two or more people or groups of people. It…)


Conversely, astrologers notice a great difficulty in dialogue with skeptics. They underline the demonstrations of a hostility of principle vis-a-vis projects of collaborative studies. According to them, the skeptics reject a matter which they refuse to examine, evoking in addition the existence of a “social pressure against astrology”. The main reason for scientists’ rejection of astrology thus appears to them to be more cultural than truly rational.

The negative image (charlatanism) of astrology would imply that the scientist who wishes to defend it publicly runs the risk of being discredited by his peers. This objection is partially valid, insofar as it highlights (Light is the set of electromagnetic waves visible to the eye…) internal tension (Tension is a force of extension.) (In France , this name designates a doctor, a pharmacist or a dental surgeon, à la…) between “established science” and the freedom of scientific research (Scientific research designates in the first place all the actions undertaken with a view to… .) (fields of study). The criticism of astrology by the philosophers of the Enlightenment remains in this respect the most famous historical example of a “

However, it is wrong to say that scientists and skeptics have never studied the matter. Quite the contrary, numerous experimentation protocols (Experimentation is a scientific method which consists in testing by experiments…) have been proposed to astrologers since the 1970s, and many researchers at the beginning of the century got down to to a statistical study of astrology (statistical astrology). The experiments carried out in this field are however limited by the absence of a precise definition desired effect, and the difficulties of its possible characterization.

The motivation (Motivation is, in a living organism, the component or the process which regulates its…) of the fight against obscurantism is not in itself an argument against astrology. It can nevertheless underlie a really argued speech. The confusion between ideological and argumentative dimensions (In common sense, the notion of dimension refers to size; the dimensions of a room…) generates an often sterile debate, which is difficult to analyse[7]. One can cite for example the case of the manifesto against astrology published in 1975 by a certain number of luminaries[8]. These present simultaneously critical facts, and polemical assertions, in particular when they describe astrology as a “superstition based on the credulity of people”.

Argument of the epistemological difficulty of dialogue

The epistemological impossibility of demonstrating the non-existence of a thing partially illustrates the intrinsic difficulty of the debate. It is indeed impossible to reject “a priori” the possible existence of an influence of the stars (“absence of proof is not proof of absence[10]”). However, the long history of research on astrology – a predictive practice in essence – having so far (The day or the day is the interval which separates sunrise from sunset; it is the…) not succeeded, we have an accumulation of studies refuting a large number of the popular paradigms of astrology (see the section devoted to the study of the paradigms of astrology). Therefore, if there is an influence of the stars, this one seems not to be within the competence of the existing astrologies. Indeed, beyond the search for a theory demonstrating the possibility of an effect of the stars, methodical work seeking to prove the existence of correlations between astrological events and their supposed effects leads to the invalidation of astrological paradigms. However, to be able to validate the hypotheses of astrology, it is at least necessary to observe an effect, before even trying to explain its instigators.

The argument of the epistemological difficulty of the dialogue appears in fact fallacious. Indeed, astrology is a practice that does not provide the tools for its own refutation, and which therefore remains outside the field of analysis of epistemology. The attitude of the astrologers is in fact the example retained by Popper of a discourse which refuses its own falsification (by this we mean its possibility of being contradicted, refuted ), thus prohibiting an objective criticism of its affirmations.

Astrology sometimes seeks to produce the illusion of its refutability. In this regard, it should be noted that certain studies carried out by astrologers retain experimental devices which tend to produce systematically positive results[11].

Question of the enthusiasm of the public

All of these controversies present a “textbook case” of undeniable interest for the sociology of science (The sociology of science aims to understand the logics of a sociological order at work in the…) and the ‘epistemology.

The enthusiasm of large audiences for a practice without demonstrated effects continues to be questioned, often in a very rigorous and critical way, by a large number of epistemologists and sociologists. The representatives of the skeptics (Anglo-Saxon or French skeptics) explain the interest in horoscopes by the Barnum effect and its corollaries. These analyzes lead them to publicly consider astrology as a “superstition based on people’s credulity”[12]. This is the position generally adopted by the scientific world.

The observation of the public’s enthusiasm also invites a double reflection on its economic implications, but also on its psychological effects (behaviours induced by belief).

Nature of the phenomenon studied by astrology

Confrontation with physical and astronomical knowledge

If astrology and astronomy have their historical roots in common (see Historical origin), the two practices are now entirely detached and perfectly distinct (except in their relative homophony, which is always a source of confusion). Astrology cannot be elevated to the rank ( Mathematics In linear algebra, the rank of a family of vectors is the dimension of…) of the physical sciences because of the meager reproducibility (The reproducibility of a scientific experiment is a conditions that allow the inclusion of…) of its results and the absence of established causality.

Real physical effect (Physics (from the Greek φυσις, nature) is etymologically the…)

  • Influence of stars
Western astrology claims that the influences it describes come from the planets, not from the stars (which are light years away from us). The reasonable argument that the stars are too far away to have any physical influence on us would apply to sidereal astrology, but not to conventional, so-called “tropical” astrology.
For the latter, only the planets have an influence, the constellations serving as a “benchmark” (like the numbers on a clock). In other words, “tropical” astrology is only interested in bodies belonging to the solar system, and their movements in relation to the arbitrary location constituted by the signs of the zodiac.
  • Influence of planets
The argument of a gravitational influence has sometimes been put forward to justify the existence of action at a distance, and because of this, some astrologers make astrological calculations on a heliocentric basis, which might seem consistent with the explanation of ‘a gravitational influence of planetary configurations on solar activity.
To date, no direct effect of the planets on the human body (The human body is the physical structure of a person.) has been rigorously observed. Moreover, the forces of attraction at play during the simple phenomena of Earth-Moon attraction are, on the scale of the human body, infinitely less important than those exerted by a building or a cabinet.
Finally, statistical research (see below) which could have made it possible to detect a regularity of astrological phenomena (influences) concludes that there is no such regularity.

Issue of the relationship between signs and constellations

The signs of the Zodiac, which serve (Servent is the contraction of the word server and client.) as a frame of reference and analysis, also correspond to constellations located on the ecliptic (The ecliptic is the great circle on the celestial sphere representing the annual trajectory of…). If the astrological traits are associated with the passage of the planets within the astronomical limits of these constellations, this point poses two new problems.

The calculation methods used by astrologers relate to an immutable “sky map”, fixed in relation to the vernal point (The vernal point, (denoted γ or g), is one of the two points of the celestial sphere where… ). On the other hand, astronomy has long observed the “displacement (In geometry, a displacement is a similarity that preserves distances and angles…)” of the constellations in the sky (by 30° or one sign every 2200 years). This drift is related to the established phenomenon of precession of the equinoxes (The precession of the equinoxes is the slow change of direction of the axis of rotation of the Earth.). The phenomenon of the precession (The mathematical formula which describes the precession of a quantity is written) of the equinoxes leads to a divergence between the real position of the stars at birth and their position affirmed by the assigned sign: today the “zodiac astrological” is almost one sign offset from the zodiac of the stars.[13] The passages of the planets within the limits of the constellations therefore do not correspond to that of the planets in the signs. This fact leads to an astronomical argument, often presented by detractors of astrology: the precise ratios described in horoscopes actually based on numerical astrological conjectures (astrological calculations) describe a state of affairs that has been past for several hundred years.

On the other hand, during its course (Running: This word has several meanings, all having to do with movement.) along the zodiac throughout the year (A year is a unit of time expressing the duration between two occurrences of a related event…), the sun crosses (A cross is a fundamental element of the railroad. It is a piece laid across…) thirteen constellations, the twelve of the zodiac plus Ophiuchus ( Ophiuchus, also known by its Latin name Serpentarius, is a constellation of…). The latter is not one of the constellations taken into account by astrology. Worse, the planets – which can move away from the ecliptic by seven to eight degrees) sometimes cross other constellations[14]: Orion,

In practice, these false arguments result from a confusion (voluntary or not) between signs and constellations of the zodiac. The “signs” are only regular sectors of 30°, conventionally counted from the vernal point. They are only an arbitrary tracking system, and used by astronomers until the 18th century. From the outset, they have only a distant relationship with the constellations of the same name, whose limits and positions are obviously irregular.

Possible surveys

If the gravitational influence of the moon is quite measurable, the activity of the sun is still a very poorly understood phenomenon and no influence on biological mechanisms and human psychology has yet been demonstrated. It is conceivable to prospect these still poorly known areas, and acquire more precise data confirming or denying the existence:

  • an influence of the position of the planets on the position of the center of gravity (The center of gravity is the point of application of the resultant of the forces of…) of the solar system with respect to the sun, and the influence which could result in the activity of the latter;
  • from a direct gravitational influence of the moon and its reflection of sunlight;
  • the ability of living mechanisms to resonate (Resonance is a phenomenon according to which certain physical systems…) with cyclical phenomena (the best known of course being circadian biological rhythms).

Let us remember, however, that statistical research (see below) which could have made it possible to detect a regularity of astrological phenomena concludes that such regularity does not exist.

Other non-classical attempts have been devised following criticism from the scientific world.

  • sidereal astrology comes from the idea that it was necessary to follow the stars, and not the vernal point. It is this approach which is followed by the Indian and Eastern tradition of astrology, but its Western version constitutes a recent construction (and rather artificial) without direct connection with these traditions.
  • Heliocentric Astrology comes from the idea that it is not the earth (Earth is the third planet of the Solar System in order of distance…) which is the center of the solar system (It is probably justified, but we cannot suddenly pass (The genus Passer was created by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques…) from one system to another without adapting the way of interpreting.)

If the imagination can extrapolate the means by which the positions of the planets would influence us, for the transits and synastries, the question is even more thorny since it would be necessary in addition to highlight planetary influences on biological systems which would have “recorded” a trace (TRACE is a NASA space telescope designed to study the connection between the…) of planetary positions.

Similarly, highlighting a physical explanation of the progressions would be even more difficult, insofar as the symbolic passage “one year = one day” does not rest on any objectifiable basis, if not precisely the symbolic basis. Nevertheless, we must remain cautious before refuting it, insofar as the brain (The brain is the main organ of the central nervous system of animals. The brain processes…) uses symbolic mechanisms. To take a very bad example (we would have to find a better one, based on unconscious mechanisms): in the majority of cases, people do not pass through a red light (The color red has different definitions, depending on the chromatic system of which we fact…) yet no physical mechanism is able to explain this behavior.

Questioning the observed effects

The absence of an identified cause does not preclude examining the possibility of possible regular effects (the discovery of which would make it possible, if necessary, to better identify the causes). Statistical astrology is precisely the discipline that claims to study possible regular “effects”, without the cause being identified for these effects.

Confrontation with a sample (In general, a sample is a small quantity of a material, information, or…) witness

Unlike other esoteric disciplines, astrology announces that it can predict, in particular, very precise and easily verifiable events. In this sense, test protocols to judge it are easy to implement [15]. These protocols compare the predictions of astrologers on specific subjects to random predictions issued by skeptics or computers. The forecasts of astrologers are then validated if they are of better quality than the random forecasts. We can cite the test of 22 predictions for the year 2000 between Elisabeth Tessier who writes regularly that she places her level of success at 80%, even 90%, a skeptic and a computer (A computer is a machine equipped with a processing unit allowing it…) . Result: Computer 8 successes, Elisabeth Tessier and Skeptic 7 successes.[16] Many such experiments have taken place. In particular by Mr. Yves Lignon who created a parapsychology laboratory in the premises of the University of Toulouse (attention not recognized by the university). By the zetetic circle (A circle is a closed plane curve made up of points located equal…) from the University of Nice, which created the International Zetetic Challenge. The advantage of this last test is that in exchange for a free test, the astrologer receives 200,000 euros if successful. As the financial risk is nil for a huge potential gain, we can estimate that the astrologers who do not present themselves to these tests, do not believe in their gift. After a few years of operation, the test was stopped for lack of a fighter (The fighter (Betta splendens) is a bony fish belonging to the order of the perciformes,…). Curiously, very few astrologers have competed, so we can conclude that the part of the population that believes the least in astrology are the astrologers themselves. All disciplines combined, there were 250 tests and zero (The number zero (from the Italian zero, derived from the Arabic sifr,…) passed[17]

Another test carried out on 100 people who judged the accuracy of the predictions made about them showed that astrologers had exactly the same success rate as a random system [18]

Statistical approach

Following numerous publications

In 1993, however, appeared in “The conditionalist notebooks”, a statistical study [19] which would demonstrate a correlation between the Mercury-Saturn aspects and the qualities of a chess player. Although the theoretical object of this study is very limited, the confirmation of its validity would contradict the dogma of the impossibility of an influence of the stars. However, this study does not come from the scientific press recognized at university level, and must therefore be taken with all the necessary precautions.

Defenders of astrology, like some critics of the humanities, sometimes liken astrology to the humanities, arguing for the use of statistical research and study of effects without an established physical cause. This comparison is obviously fallacious, statistical astrology representing a very different activity (In mathematics, the different is defined in algebraic theory of…) from astrology itself. It should be noted that statistical astrology is moreover a very marginal activity, whose basic methodological principles are not necessarily known to astrologers.

If astrology defines relatively clearly the different meanings of the elements of an astral chart (see astrological symbolism), the stage of interpretation is however not clearly codified. In fact, the complexity (Complexity is a concept used in philosophy, epistemology (by…) of this interpretation and its subjective character seems rather to relate it to an art. The results being always presented as linked to “talent” and to the experience of the astrologer (to be admissible in the eyes of its defenders, the analysis must be made by a “competent practitioner”). Therefore, it is impossible to study the current astrological methods according to the scientific criteria of reproducibility This aspect is strongly criticized by skeptics, this precise argument being precisely used by charlatans to operate a posteriori selection of their predictions. It has been demonstrated by Henri Broch that the variability of the results presented by reputedly gifted subjects corresponds precisely to the results of “random” predictions. This demonstration (In mathematics, a demonstration makes it possible to establish a proposition from…), very easily reproducible, can be consulted in the book “Become a wizard, become a scholar”.

In parallel, another approach is emerging with astro-psychologists who are simultaneously developing a new current of astrological thought, based on the knowledge opened up by psychoanalysis (In the definition given by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is the name:) . They reject the scientific approach applied to astrology and challenge its merits. Carl Gustav Jung (Carl Gustav Jung (pronounced [ˈkarl ˈɡʊstaf ˈjʊŋ]…) who defended at that time the concepts of symbolism, synchronicity and archetype, fears that “the grader influence (A grader is a vehicle of civil engineering consisting essentially of 6 wheels, a blade…) large numbers, [does not allow] to prove something by the statistical method in the field of astrology “. Dane Rudhyar, promoter of a humanistic astrology ,

Question of predictive successes

Astrological predictions and conjectures are subject to the double question of the precision of the information formulated and the subjectivity of its recipient[20]. It seems interesting for anyone who manipulates the results of a prediction to analyze the degree (The word degree has several meanings, it is notably used in the domains…) of information it contains, i.e. say both its real informative character (see Barnum effect) and the quantity (Quantity is a generic term of metrology (account, amount); a scalar,…) of elements presented.

Several elements cited in the previous points (confrontation with a control sample and statistical approach) provide an objective explanation for the existence of numerous predictive successes on the part of astrologers. Indeed, the statistical illusion which consists in presenting only the “successes” (case of characterized frauds) or in remembering only the efficient predictions (purely psychological phenomenon) explains in a rigorous way a real part of the successes present in the popular imagination.

Moreover, certain predictive successes can be explained by the objective probability of the occurrence of an event. Famous example: predicting the death (Death is the final state of a biological organism that ceases to live (even if…) of a pope in the year, during the last years of John Paul’s life II, was for the astrologers a bet (Paris is a French city, capital of France and the chief town of the region…) apparently easy in view of the very bad health (Health is a state of complete well- physical, mental and social being, and does not consist…) of the sovereign pontiff. His longevity (The longevity of a living being is the duration of life for which he is… ) has invalidated these predictions, presented as solid, year after year. It should be noted that the year of his death, these same astrologers could count this prediction as a “success”.

The predictive balance sheets of astrologers (recapitulation of the correct predictions, at the end of a series of sessions or a year) generally only present the predictive “successes”, concealing the errors. Assuming the equal precision of the predictions, this comparison would nevertheless prove to be interesting. The constitution of a large number of these predictive assessments by zeteticians demonstrates, according to the model presented above, that successes are attributable to chance (In ordinary language, the word chance is used to express a lack of efficiency, otherwise.. .) in all cases studied.

Behaviors induced by belief in astrology

Finally, serious studies show that belief in astrology induces a change in the behavior of believers, who may present a real tendency to conform their actions with the “predictions” of the horoscope[21]. The psychological factor therefore appears essential in understanding the enthusiasm for astrology, as well as in the interpretation of phenomena.

Astrology and society

Astrology and political power

In the Roman Empire, even though astrology was very popular, astrologers were outlawed by decree as early as 130 BC. The astrological “fashion” continuing, the Emperor Tiberius put in place restrictive legislation divinatory practices and imposes quality criteria on the profession of astrologer (under the suggestion of his adviser Thrasyllus, himself an astrologer). These laws were renewed a century later by Hadrian, himself an amateur astrologer.

We find the same concern a thousand years later, when Alfonso X of Castile, author of astronomical and astrological treatises, enacts that “The divination of the future by the stars is authorized for people properly trained in astronomy”.

Until the end of the 20th century, in France, the Penal Code included in its regulatory part the article R-34 (At the controls of the British airship R-34, Major Scott and his crew arrive on July 6…) punishing “people who make a profession of guessing or predicting”. This article was removed by the reform of the penal code, under the presidency of François Mitterrand[22].

It can nevertheless be noted that the Law sanctions practices and facts, not thoughts: these prohibitions are therefore not addressed to astrology as such, but to the social unrest caused by the practices of charlatans who rely on astrology. In a sense, in the field of astrology, the law does not sanction the undue influence of the stars, but the undue influence of astrologers.

The Modern Astrology Industry

Philosophical issues

question of free will



In the Tetrabiblos, Ptolemy already responds to the central criticism of astrology, its link with determinism (Determinism is a philosophical notion according to which each event is…), by affirming: “The stars incline but do not oblige “. Likewise, he emphasizes the importance of the subject’s birth situation (genetic heredity (Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ = to give birth) is…) and social) in the interpretations: “Heaven does not give man his habits, his history, his happiness, his children, his wealth, his wife… but he shapes his condition”.

The relay of this criticism is taken by theologians, for whom the astrological doctrine endangers the notion of individual responsibility of man in the face of his actions. We find traces of this concern from the biblical prohibition (Deuteronomy 18:10- 12): “No one will be found among you who makes the profession of soothsayer and magician”, a prohibition relayed by the mockery of the prophets (for example, Isaiah 47:12-14). In the 5th century, the Council of Toledo declared “if anyone believes he must have faith in astrology or divination, let him be anathema”. In the 12th century, Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Summa Theologica: “Many men obey their passions, which the wise resist. observation of the stars about human actions is verified “, the human actions in question concerning for example plowing or navigation, on which he mentions the influence of the Moon. But he also indicates, taking up an argument of Origen: ” we must be careful not to believe that the freedom of man is subject to the influence of the stars; for then there would be no more free will, without which men would do no act of virtue, worthy of reward, nor any bad action that deserved to be punished”. He therefore opposes integral astral determinism, which would lead to the negation of free will and to the idea of ​​a planetary production (A planetary designates a mobile mechanical assembly, representing the solar system…) (and therefore heretical) of the divine (cf. Dante).

For the theologian, it is not the idea that the stars can have an influence on human behavior which is in itself reprehensible. What is “an abomination before the Lord” (Dt 18:12) is to grant absolute importance (The absolute is an extract obtained from a concrete or a…) to this possible influence to the point of suggesting that fate “is written”, and therefore that men are not free.

Far from letting ourselves be impressed by the determinism and fatality propagated by astrologers (even unwittingly), let’s free ourselves and diminish the stars. May they enlighten us and help us, but without touching (Touch, also called tact or taction, is one of the five senses of man or animal,…) our full responsibility and freedom. (Thomas Aquinas, Letter to Reginald of Piperno)


  • “We were born at a given time, in a given place, and we have, like the famous vintages, the qualities of the year and the season which saw us born. Astrology does not claim more.” (Carl Gustav Jung: Man Discovering His Soul)
  • “Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy, the very mad daughter of a very wise mother.” (Voltaire)
  • “A grandiose demonstration of the miserable subjectivity of man, which makes him relate everything to himself, is offered by astrology, which relates the trajectory of the great celestial bodies to the miserable self.” (Schopenhauer)
  • “What is serious is not that so many people believe in astrology, it is that they judge serious things with heads that believe in astrology.” (Jean Rostand)
  • “Stubbornness in astrology is a proud extravagance. We believe that our actions are important enough to deserve to be written in the ledger of Heaven. believes that the immense and luminous bodies that roll over his head are only made to announce to the Universe the hour (The hour is a unit of measurement of time. The word also designates size…) when he will emerge of his shop.” (Montesquieu)
  • “In science, the truth is never likely to be proven definitively, and even less the non-existence of a phenomenon[23]. At best, an explanatory theory is good as long as it has not been invalidated by facts of experience, and all the better for being confirmed by new facts of experience. (…) The history of science (The history of science is the study of the evolution of knowledge …) also teaches that misconceptions can be fertile, by suggesting experimental tests which, in turn, will provide new avenues of explanation. (…) “Daniel Kunth and Philippe Zarka, in Que sais-je – Astrology (2005), p.100
  • “As below, so is above[24]” (famous hermetic maxim)
  • The Astrologer who drops into a well

“An Astrologer one day let himself fall At the bottom of a well. He was told: “Poor beast, While you can hardly see at your feet, Do you think you can read above your head? “…Besides the vanity of his lying art, It is the image of those who yawn at chimeras, However they are in danger, Either for themselves or for their business.” (Jean de La Fontaine: Book II, Fable 13)

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