Gustave Doré: Dante Alighieri, Inferno Plate 8 (Canto III Abandon all hope ye who enter here)
Why do we need astrology?
All forms of prediction, including the more recent psychologically-based astrology inspired and facilitated by C. G. Jung and his followers, have one thing in common: they soothe the fevered brow of insecurity and doubt. It is interesting that science hasn’t done much to make these insecurities and doubts go away. If science is the ‘answer’ to superstition, the part of the question that was lost during the rise of scientism is, ‘what about the all-too-human need to feel safe in an unsafe world?’
One thousand years ago, the lack of safety looked like this: Hell‘s fire would consume you for any number of infractions against the Catholic Church or against Allah, depending on which part of the world you found yourself in. If Hell didn’t get you, it was likely a plague or an ague, or even just a severe food shortage one winter would see you off this mortal coil. One hundred years ago, the most likely source of death remained illness, but most plagues had been eradicated.
These days, science still hasn’t found a cure for the three things that are likely to kill me, but the one thing it will probably never find a cure for is emotional stress. Emotional ills are what make people miserable longer than physical ones, usually. Unless you’re dying of a chronic disease, (and if you are, I am terribly sorry, do not wish to offend, but would earnestly suggest you go do something else with your time, because it’s precious and why are you reading this??) the likelihood is that you are plagued more by stressors and worries than you are by the possibility of dying of the bubonic plague.
Hence the rise of astrology. It is the panacea of all those who suffer emotionally. For all of those who have abandoned hope that anything will ever change in their dreary, postmodern existences, astrology… does not have all the answers, no, but it helps people feel better. In this way, yes, of course it resembles religion; don’t think I hadn’t noticed that connection too. Astrology, however, is not the opiate of the masses, Karl. It is something much more interesting.