Maybe it’s part of the nature of astrology, but misinformation – myth, if you will – seems to rise up around it. Art, religion, science, pseudoscience, entertainment – do we even know, really, how to classify the thing? Think it over: in the meantime, here are the top ten myths and stereotypes about astrology that could use a little debunking:
1. Astrology is a pseudoscience
Well, maybe. Let’s take a closer look at this statement, which really irks me. True, astrology makes a lot of claims: that when the planets are at certain degrees, they have certain properties; that the position of the planets when you’re born will manifest in you in certain ways; that certain combinations of degrees (30 degrees, 60, 90) produce certain tensions. Certain scientists scoff at this. Where is the basis in fact?
But a lot of science, if you think about it, is really based on observable phenomenon – you have to work backwards to find out what makes things act the way they act. And nobody ever claims (at least, no astrologer worth his/her salt ever claims) that the planets “make” anyone act in any way whatsoever – they’re just reflecting the energies that are already in existence, as we do as individuals.
A lot of synastry, and the astrology of transits, does depend on mathematical calculations and exact data. While this isn’t enough to prove that astrology is a science, I find it equally as laughable to use the mystery surrounding “why astrology works” to prove that it isn’t one!
2. Astrologers make everything up off the top of their heads
Uh, hardly. I wish this were true – it certainly would make my job a lot easier! In fact, true astrological predictions are based mostly on the movements of the planets through different houses (there are twelve of them, corresponding to the twelve signs and representing various energies, from self-presentation to work to love). A more specific, individualized prediction will almost certainly take into account the precise angles the planets made to one another at the time of your birth in conjunction (pun not intended) with the angles of the planets at any given moment in the near/far future. At any rate, it takes a lot of work!
3. Astrology posits that there are only twelve different kinds of people.
Again, wouldn’t that make my job a whole lot easier? In fact, astrology posits that there are infinite kinds of people, taking into account that each individual has different placement of things like their moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, on and on (in general, the farther away from the Sun the planet, the less it affects the individual chart and the more it affects the generation). Also, each planet may be in a different house, depending on the time of birth – your sun, moon, and Mercury may all be in your fifth house, while mine may all be in my fourth, even though we have almost identical charts otherwise – making you a much different person than me!
4. Astrology can predict your destiny.
Uhhhh. . . here you have the opposite end of the spectrum. Astrology does not predict certainties. Let me say it again.
ASTROLOGY DOES NOT PREDICT CERTAINTIES.
Astrology predicts potentialities. It seems so New-Age, hokey, gag-me-now to say that we control what happens to us. . . but really, that’s what astrology’s saying. WE CONTROL WHAT HAPPENS TO US.
Say the Sun’s in your fifth house. Great, right? Fun times, lots of lovers, playing with your kids, everything’s lighthearted and fun? Sun transits last the length of one astrological sign – have you ever felt nothing but lighthearted for more than a month? You have your ups and downs like anyone, right? They might be better ups and downs than usual – but still, you’re going to react in ways that nobody could EVER predict.
5. Sun signs are the most important part of a chart
There is so much more than sun signs to astrology. Now, even I buy into this a little bit, as you have to to be able to write a weekly horoscope!
Other planets tell us so much more about who we are, where we come from, how we react – the moon tells us about where we feel at home and our childhoods, Mercury about our communication styles, Venus about what makes us feel loved, Mars about what makes us feel powerful – and so on. Limiting your view of astrology to sun signs is fine if you’re just checking in now and then, for fun. If you really want to get a full understanding of yourself and your situation, however, better take a look at the full chart.
6. Sun signs are the least important part of a chart
Absolutely not true! Sun signs share similar properties, and in a way are like a filter for the rest of your chart – if you’re an Aries, even if your Venus is in Cancer, you’re going to need a lot more space than a Leo with Venus in Cancer, for example. But both people might still love to cuddle, or have mother fixations (sorry. . . )
7. You shouldn’t date someone you’re not totally compatible with
The one thing people always want to know about astrology is “who is my ideal match?” Well, I hate to break it to you: there is no such person.
Sure, there are energies that mesh well together, and sure, there are certain aspects between charts that can make the relationship feel “fated” or otherwise “destined” – but here’s the thing. So many people thrive off of a little tension – some more than others, and some to a greater or lesser extent than others, of course – that most people don’t actually WANT a perfect match! If they got that perfect match, they’d find the other person TOTALLY DULL.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. But my parents, for example – their moons are square, as are their Marses, normally hints of underlying tensions – and they’ve been happily married for nearly three decades. And they are two of the most passionate people I know!
So don’t ask: is this the perfect match. Ask: is this an interesting match, for me?
8. Astrology is true because of the gravitational pull the planets have on you when you’re born.
Um, no. My high school physics teacher spent a whole lesson on this, for those of you who are interested, but let’s put it this way: the doctor who delivered you had more of a gravitational pull on you, so if you really believe this, you better go look up his or her birth chart.
I believe astrology is true because of what I talk about earlier; synchronicity. Things that happen at the same time have similar energies, and we can predict the movement of the stars and thus future energies. Nothing more, nothing less.
9. Astrology is what you read in the newspapers.
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. At least, not always. Some newspaper astrologers are very good – but they are few and far between. Mostly, this bunk is made up by a random J-school grad one step up from writing obituaries, who can imagine twelve possible scenarios for the day. Real astrology has to do with angles and planets and synthesizing information from many different sources. Sorry.
10. If you’re born on the cusp of two signs, you’re either like both of them or like neither of them.
Everybody – I repeat, EVERYBODY – falls into one particular sun sign. It’s for this reason that it is so important to get the exact day, time, and place of your birth totally correct – if you’re down to the wire between two signs, this is what you need to figure it out.
Sometimes cusp people will share properties of both signs because the planets were clustered together at that moment – the Sun going from Leo to Virgo, with Mercury in Virgo and the moon in Leo and Virgo in Leo but Mars in Virgo – but your sun sign is CERTAINLY one or the other.