Astrology introductions?
November 18, 2008 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Complete beginner here, not overly skeptical, but so far also not particularly convinced. I'm reading the wonderful Letters of Ted Hughes and finding myself very interested in what he says there about astrology. So, could anybody direct me to a good, credible introduction to the subject?
posted by m4nju to Religion & Philosophy (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
To clarify, by "good, credible" are you explicitly looking for something that starts with the supposition that astrology works, or are you looking for something that does not make such assumptions and will tell you whether astrology works?
posted by edd at 3:46 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Astrology is a controversial subject at metafilter, largely because there is no scientific evidence for it. Don't be surprised if there are some replies that are hostile to your question.
That said, I have been told my skepticism is because I am an Aries. Maybe you are too?
posted by bystander at 4:48 AM on November 18, 2008

To answer more particularly, Wikipedia has a long entry on astrology, highlighting its power in the old world before science was more developed. It is still valuable, but more as a placebo effect tool, as most star sign predictions are generally uplifting.
For maximum benefit, I urge you to read newspaper horoscopes but investigate no further.
posted by bystander at 4:57 AM on November 18, 2008

The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

I really like this book, as do many of my friends.
posted by at 5:00 AM on November 18, 2008

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:12 AM on November 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

in terms of getting a good answer to this question, it might help for you to describe how Hughes approaches astrology - many poets, (& many people) look to astrology for its mythopoetic content (a fact that many detractors simply miss) - the same for other symbolic systems, such as Tarot

that said, you might want to check out Nicholas Campion's recent The Dawn of Astrology: A Cultural History of Western Astrology, which is a scholarly examination of the long history of astrological systems from neolithic times up to the rise of Christianity (a bit more than a general introduction, I know)

for a contemporary (& fun) take on astrology, check out Rob Brezsny
posted by jammy at 5:12 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Keith Thomas' Religion and the Decline of Magic is the definitive social history of the role of astrology in pre/early modern England as an explanation for why shit happened in the years before science - and how the study of natural phenomena it entailed helped water the seeds of genuine scientific enquiry.
posted by Abiezer at 5:54 AM on November 18, 2008

Good intro here.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:48 AM on November 18, 2008

Thanks for all responses so far! Some good leads for me to follow.

@jammy: I guess my interest is, frankly, more on the mythpoetic side. But it seems Hughes's was quite literal. He did things like try to convince his publishers (usually unsuccessfully!) to release his books on particular days that he saw as astrologically auspicious - there seems to be a letter in this regard related to just about every book he published.

I saw an astrologer years ago, who gave me a deep, hour-long reading. I wasn't very interested in the predictive side, but found what I think of as the more 'characterological' stuff fascinating.
posted by m4nju at 10:12 AM on November 18, 2008

Person-To-Person Astrology
posted by dpcoffin at 1:52 PM on November 18, 2008

Oops, forgot this: Earth Energies

(Disclaimer: Not read either, but both have been recommended to me by folks I take seriously)
posted by dpcoffin at 1:58 PM on November 18, 2008

"I saw an astrologer years ago, who gave me a deep, hour-long reading. I wasn't very interested in the predictive side, but found what I think of as the more 'characterological' stuff fascinating."

In that case, may I recommend "The Full Facts Book of Cold Reading" by Ian Rowland?
posted by edd at 6:07 PM on November 18, 2008

The Inner Sky by Steven Forrest

And here's an interesting essay from Robert Hand (a practicing astrologer) about the history of astrology, and the philosophy underpinning it. If the history at the beginning is too dense or boring, scroll down about halfway to the section which begins "Astrology lacks a theoretical foundation".
posted by overglow at 11:12 AM on November 19, 2008

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