Around the year 1750, astrology all but died out in Western culture. With the advent of scientific developments, the geocentric system upon which astrology was based gave way to the heliocentric vision of Copernicus. At the same time, scientists expounded greater and greater skepticism of some of the tenets of astrology as it was being practiced at the time.
There are two principal arguments against astrology. First, astrology could not be proven through the use of scientific experimental methods. While there is ample anecdotal evidence to confirm that people benefit from astrology, there are few, if any, studies to show how astrology works. Even today, there are only isolated cases in which astrological factors appear to have statistical significance.
Second, the Catholic Church has long taught that if astrology is not the direct work of the devil, then it is certainly an infringement upon individual free will. After all, astrology's detractors say that if we are fated to act in a certain way, that means that God has not given us free will. Since the Scriptures teach us that we have free will, astrology must be wrong.
Personally, I have not made up my mind about the scientific argument against astrology. If the detractors make their decisions in a vacuum free of actual information about astrology, then their opinions matter very little to me, mostly because they are acting against their own espoused beliefs concerning the scientific method. I liken it to the situation we all have faced in childhood: sooner or later, most parents tell children to do something that is either utterly wrong, dreadfully misinformed, or personally self-serving on the part of the parent. An example is that I was told to drink my milk. I happen to be lactose intolerant. A lifetime of drinking milk did not aid my digestive processes, that's for sure, and it probably contributed to other problems, all of which are reduced now that I limit intake of dairy products.
As for the religious argument against astrology, it seems clear that the Church is arguing against something that I myself do not believe. I do not think the stars compel us to do anything. I believe that all of creation mirrors other parts of creation. The stars mirrored my potential at birth, and they mirror my progress toward fulfillment of that potential now. They do not compel me. That said, the stars do offer me a valuable source of information. If I know what they suggest, in terms of omens, then I can decide for myself what to do about it. For example, it is a very well-established fact that planting root vegetables generally works better when the Moon is new and in an earth sign. You can pretty much count on getting better results.
It also seems obvious to me, from personal experience, that children tend to bleed more if an injury occurs to the part of the body indicated by the position of the Moon at the time of the injury. My observations are not scientific, yet they seem to hold true. Would I set up an experiment to test this theory? I would not even consider causing injuries to test this theory! I might consider analyzing emergency room data relative to blood loss from injuries compared to the sign of the Moon.
Electional astrology can be used to shed light on any planned event. You can choose a time to begin any activity that has an obvious time of origination. It would be tough for me to say when I first began to appreciate the value of astrology in my life. It would be fairly simple to identify the time I sat in my first astrology class. It would be difficult for most of us to pin down the exact onset of psychological or emotional conditions, and much easier to say when we graduated from high school, broke a bone, or got married.
Because electional astrology is an aid to future planning, you can create charts for a variety of dates and times. You can examine each chart for its benefits and detriments in regard to your intended goal. If nothing else, in the process you may examine your own motives, confirm your own feelings, and organize your decision-making process more consciously. You affirm your intention. Most of us will not simply accept the evidence of astrology. We question it; we try out different times and paths to the goal in our minds before we take action.
I remember an episode of Little House on the Prairie when Mrs. Ingalls had a terrible infection from an injury. She was at home alone, getting sicker by the minute. She knew she had to do something to help herself, so she opened her Bible for inspiration. Whether by intention or Divine design, she opened to a passage that read, "If thine eye offend thee, cut it out." She took this to be inspiration or instruction for what she should do. She sterilized a knife in the fire and then cut herself to release the poison from her wound. The Bible passage could be viewed as divination if we assume that she simply opened the book and her eyes fell on that verse. We could call it Divine intervention. Perhaps Mrs. Ingalls selected the passage in the Bible to muster the courage for what she feared to do. This compares to casting an electional chart for consideration of possibilities.
Electional astrology, in my opinion, provides a way to gain perspective on the design of our universe in a useful way. When faced with formidable problems, we can use the information provided by electional astrology to help us make a decision, not to make the decision for us. I personally do not see any contradiction between this pathway to knowledge and my religious beliefs. If god and goddess are behind all creation, then certainly they are behind the movements of the stars and planets. If understanding creation were generally useful in our lives, why would the movements of the stars and planets be any different?
Besides, it is easier for me to relate to the rotation of the Earth and the movement of the planets than it is to "believe" in pions, muons, and quasars. The phases of the Moon are evident each month, whereas the existence of viruses and bacteria are accepted "on faith" by most of us. I am using a computer to write this article, and I can only guess how many tiny, tiny connections are being made on the crystals that make up the chips in my computer. But I know that my computer is doing more calculations than were possible in computers that occupied entire buildings in the 1960s.
One of the best resources available on this subject is Joann Hampar's Electional Astrology. Instruction is thorough and refined, teaching readers the best methods to approach this aspect of astrology. Since electional work requires ephemeris charts and information pertaining to the last aspect before the moon goes void-of-course, Llewellyn's Daily Planetary Guides are handy guides that have all the charts and data you will need in order to gauge the best timing for your events. They provide the perfect reference for electional astrological interpretation.
A professional astrologer for over twenty-five years, Stephanie Jean Clement, Ph.D., was a board member of the American Federation of Astrologers and a faculty member of Kepler College and NORWAC. Her Ph.D. in Transpersonal ...