At Quora, where I've been a member for a couple of years, in a niche section of the site there are a handful of professional astrologers answering questions on the topic, most of which questions come from people who think that astrology begins and ends with Sun signs, as found in newspapers, magazines - even in some books. These professional astrologers, with patience of saints, continue to try to educate the writers of such questions, with little success. I followed their example, for the most part. The astrologers must also fend off the usual denigrating and rude remarks about astrology and astrologers, fired from that unhappy band of astrology sceptics.
Amazingly, I received a "Top Writer" award after my first few month's of Quora input (on astrology and a couple of other topics), but that was in a year when the site owners were trying hard to encourage new writers. Many of us, new to the site, were shocked to receive this "Top" honour, but enjoyed it anyway. I've stepped back from writing on Quora during the past months. The quality of questions, on all topics, nose-dived after website owners began paying for questions. I do still visit the site, but on a read-only basis.
Anyway - back to astrology and in particular, that much maligned by some and loved by others branch of the subject, Sun sign astrology. Here's what I first wrote on the topic here, in 2006, then re-aired it in 2015, with comment from "mike". I fear that mike left planet Earth a month or two after leaving this blog. He suffered from what I believe turned out to be a terminal illness. He left with a remark along the lines of: "See you further down the road." R.I.P.
SUN SIGN ASTROLOGY
I'm often puzzled and irritated when reading the critical thoughts of "serious" astrologers about other astrologers who specialise in Sun sign astrology.
What is their problem? Sun sign astrologers play a big part in keeping "serious" astrologers in business. I'd guess that 9 people out of 10 who contribute to the livelihood of "serious" astrologers, through personal consultations, or purchase of their books, are first drawn to the subject via Sun sign columns, or books (such as Linda Goodman's) based on Sun sign astrology. It ill-behooves one to bite the hand that feeds him/her.
Even the worst astrology columns in local newspapers, and there are some really bad ones, serve to keep the concept of astrology alive. Good Sun sign writers such as [the late]Jonathan Cainer and Rob Brezsny, can inspire readers to delve deeper into the subject, whilst offering regular doses of inspiration and wisdom, rather than out and out predictions of the "tall dark stranger" kind.
It is possible, of course, to get into what I call "the Sun sign rut", but anyone sensitive to astrology will soon find a way out of that rut. Those less sensitive will still find plenty to play with among the Sun signs, and this is definitely better than nothing. Knowledge of traits attributed to the 12 zodiac (Sun) signs is helpful when moving deeper into astrology -time is not wasted reading Linda Goodman's books, or any other descriptions of the 12 signs.
The reason Sun sign astrology remains popular, and that people at parties still love to ask "What's your sign", is because there is a golden nugget of truth there. It doesn't shine through as brightly in every person, but it's always there. The Sun sign is an easy handle to grasp, a clue to work with, and let's face it - it's fun!
"Serious" astrologers can take themselves far too seriously. It's obvious that astrology is not yet an exact science, nor anywhere near, and probably never will be. All astrologers are whistling in the dark, to some extent. Make it a friendly, happy tune, please, guys!
I still feel much the same way, though often wrote, in my astrology posts, that "there is no such thing as an Aquarian, a Taurus, a Libra, and so on". Nearest things would be an Aquarian-type, a Taurus-type etc.
"mike" wrote in response to the quoted piece above...
Gotta start somewhere, so Sun-sign astrology is a beneficial launching pad into the wide world of astrology. I read a variety of Sun-sign and-or ascendant forecasts, because I enjoy reading how various astrologers interpret the transits. It's amazing how the same set of transits can be astrologically interpreted. Most all of the Sun-sign astrologers account for the other planets' interactions and interpret those by Sun-sign and-or ascendant, by the houses involved, whether they call is as such or not. The approach lends itself to generalizations, but overall, most astrologers do a decent job, particularly if the reader knows something about their own astrology and can filter for their own interpretation.
With the advent of the internet, delving into one's personal, natal chart is SO easy...astro.com and astrotheme.com allow any Sun-sign reader to further their knowledge with a quick and easy natal chart computation. In the old days, one would have to find an astrologer to perform the task or learn to do the math themselves. Both of those websites have natal chart interpretations, too. Seems to be an infinite number of astrology-based websites with each having an archive of useful information for the beginner or advanced.
I used to read Cainer and Brezsny, but I find they are too sugary and vague, typically assuming the reader will ALWAYS react with the most positive expression, which most individuals will not. It's always nice to have their positive encouragement, usually in a metaphorical presentation, but too often real life presents itself in less-than-perfect, non-storybook ways. I don't find that these two astrologers to be very helpful, as there isn't much offered...astrology-lite...LOL.
Different strokes for different folks. I prefer a more detailed, realistic over-view of transits, warts, roses, and all. Others want a more palatable, allegorical presentation that always presents the golden path with some amusement thrown-in.
I think that the authors (bloggers) that format by transit offer the better service to the reader, eg "this week's new Moon in Sagittarius", "today's Sun square Jupiter", "the upcoming Mars, Uranus, Pluto T-square". Tends to force the reader away from the spoon-fed, superficial, popularized astrology that we all love to hate.
I responded with:
mike ~ You've given a balanced and realistic view of the situation - many thanks!
I prefer the approach of [astrologers such as] Jonathan [and Oscar]Cainer and Rob Brezsny because there's more than enough doom and gloom elsewhere - reading them is like warming one's hands (or backside) at a welcoming fire on a bone-chilling day. They're not always 100% cheerful, but usually offer food for thought, if not always a wide smile.
I tend, mostly, not to look for "proper" predictions, preferring to wait and see, then match outcomes to planetary movement. Preparing the mind for something that might never happen or might happen in a very different way than expected, isn't good for me - but some might enjoy it, and I realise as much. Mundane stuff is different - in that sphere I'll look ahead and enjoy reading what "proper" astrologers have to say about, for instance, Trump's chances, or how others might fare in the 2016 election, etc.
Dragging myself back from 2006 and 2015 to 2019, I can see astrology reflected in my life currently, quite clearly. Pluto (planet of transformation and even death) at my birth in 1939 was in my 1st house. Pluto reached a point in my 7th house, exactly opposite my Cancer ascendant, very close to natal Mercury in Capricorn, around a couple of years ago. My medical problems, diagnosis and treatment began at that time - exactly! These have continued to develop as Pluto, very slowly, moved along a degree or two, then re-traced its steps through the same area of my natal chart. Pluto is now moving forward again, at last, and by early next year will be out of range of my ascendant and Mercury. Pluto hasn't done its worst and killed me, yet! I hope that I can get through the remainder of Pluto's transit alive but transformed, realising that I'll never be completely free of my current health issues. I am transformed from a healthy and active elderly person to someone hobbling around with a quad cane, unable to do many of the things I used to love to do. Pluto will move on through late Capricorn towards my 6 degree Aquarius Sun, but very, very slowly. At some point between now and Pluto's arrival conjunct my natal Sun around 2027/8 I'll be saying, "Goodbye Planet Earth" - but not quite yet. (I hope!)