Sunday, 25 September 2011

And we want to be taken seriously?

When I first came to England in 1990 and recovered from the shock of discovering there were only 4 TV channels to choose from, I caught a lot of morning shows. I can clearly remember seeing Russell Grant and being really excited because he was the first celebrity astrologer who seemed to agree with me and my theory that people need to be pushed to get them to see beyond star signs. There Russell was, on live TV, considering a whole chart (be it only for few minutes) and being contagiously enthusiastic about it. I remember thinking: “Hey, he’s speaking the language!” It was my first experience of feeling I could engage with someone about astrology.

Of course, life being as it is, my path to astrological enlightenment (which I still haven’t found and proudly accept I never will), has taken many twists and turns but I still resolutely refuse to do a star sign column—even if I did get the chance to do whole chart readings in front of a live studio audience. It isn’t because star sign columns–written by qualified astrologers—are fake or incorrect. But in the whole entire scheme of things they are pretty useless and they cast astrologers as a whole in a very simplified light. Star sign columns make all astrologers easy targets for the likes of Matthew Syeed. Anyone who knows their star sign (and that’s everybody), thinks they automatically understand astrology and can have an opinion about it.

Before my many friends who write star sign columns start telling me (again) they are the “shop window” of astrology, let me put a few more reasons why we clever astrologers should seriously consider how a few badly dressed mannequins affect the rest of us. I'm not having a go because you star sign astrologers do work hard and I'm lucky I have a job I love which pays me well enough so I don't have to be a slave to the media. I just want you guys to consider a few things.

My buddy Deb Houlding has been engaged in an epic battle with the BBC to get them to back track on some seriously negative comments from a so-called expert astronomer. The sheer lunacy of the Beebs’ inability to follow their own policy on impartiality is appalling.
As Deb has written in her website Skyscript (and if you think astrology is simple, just have a look at her work):

“My complaint is essentially simple and concerns a lack of factual accuracy and impartiality within offensively misrepresentative remarks about astrology. It is raised against a dialogue between BBC presenters Dara Ó Briain and Professor Brian Cox on Stargazing Live (3rd January 2011) in reference to the "very rare" planetary line up between Jupiter and Uranus and the Earth that occurred that night (in other words, the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, which as astrologers know is not "very rare" in astronomical terms, since it repeats every 13-15 years):”

Dara Ó Briain: Very rare for this kind of thing to happen, it is, because all of them have a different, different orbital length; this is, you know, only, only the Earth goes round in one year and comes back to the same spot. Horoscopes: that's all nonsense. We're happy to say this now, once and for all, that's all rubbish, right, astrology - because the planets are in different places at different times.

Brian Cox: In the interests of balance, because we're on the BBC, I should say that, indeed, Dara is right: astrology is … [gesticulates to support the last word given to Dara].

Dara Ó Briain: It's nonsense, it's absolute nonsense; right.

Oh so Brian Cox and Dara O’Brian are qualified astrologers and can have this opinion? And the BBC reckons it maintains a position of impartiality? Give me my damn license money back. Now.

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more touchy about the reputation of astrology, in flounces Russell Grant—on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. He’s lost ten stone and he’s recycled Anne Widdecombe’s wardrobe.

Is he going to win it?

With T Pluto square his N Saturn, he’ll be lucky he doesn’t break something. And T Saturn conjunct N Neptune? Come on Russell, you didn’t see the foot infection coming?

A word of advice from one astrologer to another: watch that Uranus transit on your descendent. It could turn your whole life upside down. Ring my special premium telephone number at £3.00 per minute to find out more.

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