Astrology has been called the queen of the occult "sciences", but it is only half science and a very crude adaptation of that science known as astronomy.
The following essay argues that astrology is never true except by agreement.
Two people can agree that unicorns exist, but that has nothing to do with unicorns in the wild.
I wrote this article originally in the mid-1990s, edited it in 2010.
posted here by Joe Szimhart, 2015
astrology is a creation stemming from man's imagination, a novel about the heavens and our relationship to them.
Astrologers are never wrong or,
Astrologers are never wrong and astrology never works. Try to argue with an experienced, professional astrologer and use the results of every scientific test that debunks astrology at your disposal. Be prepared for an incredible array of justifications, elaborate rationalizations, and evasive maneuvers. A good astrologer has an answer for any challenge. Give one hundred astrologers all the information they need to evaluate (do a reading for) a client, and you will get almost one hundred different interpretations of that same client. Randomly, give one hundred clients the same horoscope reading disguised as their own, and you will find that most of them believe that the astrologer did a good job interpreting their lives and character.
A professional astrologer rarely if ever predicts specifics—astrologers of merit argue that the stars and planets incline; they do not compel. Many wealthy professionals and even a Pope or two have consulted astrologers through the centuries. Why shouldn’t you? Astrology is more popular than ever in western, post-modern cultures. It is practically a necessity among hundreds of millions of people in India to determine who, when, and how to marry. A typical astrological horoscope done by a western professional contains virtually an infinite number of factors, and someone calculated the number at 539,370,750,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. No astrologer has time enough in one lifetime to consider all the possibilities in a typical horoscope. So how do they do it? How do they convince a client that their readings are accurate?
My application in 1979 to the Keeper of the Flame Fraternity of Church Universal and Triumphant required that I submit my sun sign, my moon sign, and my ascendant. Since I had never hired an astrologer to cast my horoscope, I had no idea what I was besides some kind of Libra in a classic Western system. That was early in 1979. I went to Alan Oken, a published, professional astrologer who had traveled and lectured worldwide and still does [as of 1994]. At the time, Oken owned and operated The Voice of the Turtle, a metaphysical or New Age bookstore and gift shop in Santa Fe, NM. Alan was director of The Wisdom School, an international effort based in Santa Fe that featured the teachings of Alice A. Bailey. He sustained a significant presence in the world of astrologers and Theosophists. Oken was a Baileyite when I met him, and I was aware of the tension between Alice A. Bailey’s teachings and CUT (my old cult) that considered them too “gray.” That meant that Bailey’s Theosophy was too much in the head, not enough heart—whatever that means. I attended a few of Alan’s classes at the Turtle, which was where he did his readings.
Alan’s reading that I tape-recorded was impressive in content, but I had trouble relating to it. He suggested, as many astrologers do, to set up more sessions that would give more depth of insight. I did not, but his horoscope reading gave me my Moon sign as Cancer and my ascendant as either Scorpio or Sagittarius—we eventually opted for Scorpio. Libra was never in doubt as he used a commonly held House system. The confusion for my ascendant or Rising Sign stems from no record of my exact birth time in Germany. As I mentioned before, I was born in a Displaced Persons camp in 1947. No one kept an exact record and my mother’s memory is vague at best. Not to worry. Three more very experienced astrologers read my horoscope for me during the next several years, and all but one agreed that I could have Scorpio rising in my chart. It fits my character, they said. The one that disagreed felt my sun rose in Virgo.
I sent this imprecise information in to the group in 1979, not that it mattered initially. As some months passed, I studied the group’s version of astrology that CUT called “the Cosmic Clock.” The group leaders had assigned Ascended Masters from their pantheon to each of the twelve Houses. For example, Godfre Ray King (Guy Ballard) held the “four o’clock” position as God Obedience, and a character CUT calls the Great Divine Director holds the “twelve o’clock” position as God Power. The group member or Keeper attempts to integrate these qualities with his or her natal chart as well as with the course of time and with life events. The Cosmic Clock helps the Keeper to maintain a sacred cycle throughout the day, month, and years. No one I knew in the group could keep up with the intricate indications of this new overlay on an already meticulously complex system. I certainly could not. Some members opted to consult the group astrologer. He, Murray Steinman, was a close confidant of the leader (Elizabeth C. Prophet, now dead as of 2009). I listened to a few of Steinman's readings on tapes that former members gave to me after I quit the group. Those readings were run of the mill, pleasant exercises. The astrologer eventually became one of E. Prophet’s legal guardians in the late 1990s after dementia claimed her brain and behavior.
A year after I broke with CUT, and shortly after I completed a round the world journey in 1981, an old college friend introduced me to an astrologer living in Santa Fe. She was from Denmark. At the time I still had an interest in astrology and other mantic arts. I wanted a horoscope and reading of my daughter who was four at the time. Over a one-year period I took enough astrology classes to be able to read an ephemeris and to cast a horoscope. I learned the rudiments of interpretation of a hororary chart. Some of her influences (and mine) in astrology were Liz Greene, Stephen Arroyo, and Dane Rudyar, all of whom had an affinity for Carl Jung’s neo-Gnostic philosophy. Bailey’s Esoteric Astrology made no sense to my Danish friend. She was also a devotee of the Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda who promoted a form of Vedic or Jyotish astrology from India. Jyotish stems from ancient Greek and Persian astrology, but there are well over a dozen systems worldwide. My astrologer friend used an Equal House, fairly standard version.
Astrologers in my view are egoistic creatures very much like channels or mediums. Uneasy with readings by other astrologers or psychics about the same client, they avoid peer reviews of their work. I believe there is an unwritten code in the craft to respect competition, or maybe it is just common sense. All astrologers/psychics know that their craft is idiosyncratic by nature, so there is no desire or need to peer review anything. As an artist I can understand it, and I can see the lofty intent that raises this art above any other. This is heady stuff when you have the cosmic “DNA” of someone in front of you in a horoscope. The possibilities of interpretation, daunting at first, become a thing of beauty once the student of astrology learns to dance along through the signs, houses, planets, aspects, and transits. It is mythology come alive in a symphony of the gods who sing in a chorus for your birthday, yeah, the instance of your first breath. The reading is more a work of art than a result of a psychological exam. Why confuse the client whose response is all that matters anyway. When someone sings for you and about you, it is easy to fall in love with the message, to not judge it, to embrace it, and to wonder might that be true? Astrologers all sing in their own voice, and each one has something of value, a portion of the truth, to reveal to you—at least that is the promise. And that is the problem as well. Who will you trust and how many astrologers do you have to see before you know your “truth”? Once I saw where this was going, I backed away from further study. Was there anything, anything at all besides agreement between an artful astrologer and their needy client to support the art?
Not much. The reality of astrology is a thin cylinder marked with star formations. The cylinder surrounds the turning earth from where we see the planets and the sun move about the star “constellations.” It is the zodiac. People born above the 70th degree of latitude on the northern edges of Greenland and Siberia live in an astrological no man’s land as many planets hardly appear in their extremely attenuated horoscopes. Nothing explains how planetary forces affect our destinies beyond our imagination and the influence of the astrologers. Gravity, magnetism, correspondences, relativity, or photoelectric energies all fail to support astrology. Consider that the midwives in a birthing room or the giant oak tree outside it have far more magnetic effect on a newborn baby than does the moon—really! Do astrologers take any of that into account? Of course not….way too complex, so forget the magnetism thing. As for oceans, that has more to do with earth rotation and the enormous surfaces. Babies are miniscule tiny specks, therefore hardly if any magnetic moon effect on them.
If not how, then why planets effect us is another question altogether. A Christian evangelist or a Manichean Gnostic might posit spiritual forces or “demons” as the culprits. Mani (216-277 AD) was a Babylonian prophet who incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Christianity. Mani may very well be the prototypical New Ager! Mani imagined the planets as moving along a plane (my cylinder), the zodiac belt, among twelve signs. Although he taught that the Sun and Moon were manifestly good, he also taught that the planets (Leaders) were responsible for evil in the world. “All that occurs in the world, above and below, wars, confusion, deportation, famine, avarice, and property, all this increases and decreases according to the action of the Leaders. They set in motion all of creation.”
To get around the damning and often irrefutable evidence from scientific exposure, Astrologers elevate astrology to a spiritual art that science cannot properly examine. I’m not so sure. Astrology is dependent on a collection of physical and celestial objects in relation to one another and us. It is also dependent on the science of astronomy for the information gathered from observing the heavens. This science informs the ephemeris that is essential to setting up a horoscope. So far, this much is not spiritual. The spiritual part or the disconnection with reality appears when the astrologer begins to interpret the chart. At this stage the astrologer relies on traditional assignments to various aspects and elements in the chart to begin his or her dance. The power of the tradition—Libra, the balance, indicates the potential for diplomacy; Mars for aggression or energetic activity; the Moon for nurturing; Aries for getting things going—gives a platform or stage for agreement. The client must believe that the dance is about him. Now the other characters appear on stage: the ascendant, conjunctions and trines, planetary houses, Neptune is now in your First House that in your chart is ruled by Aries, so you could be entering a spiritual phase, the nodes, squares, and oppositions. The possibilities of this drama (your life and character) are indeed infinite.
A professional astrologer is never wrong because the drama they can create about your natal destiny is riddled with either/or possibilities. A reading might go like this:
Your ascendant is in conjunction with Mars that is squared by Mercury. This configuration in the First House indicates incredible energy that could be released at any time. Did you fuss a lot when you were a baby? Oh, you did! So did my sister. She had a similar configuration with her Mars. This indicates a propensity for Attention Deficit Disorder, or an incredible ability to grasp information and to get things done. As an athlete you would most likely be very fast. Oh, I’m sorry. You are crippled from Multiple Sclerosis? Oh, you could run well at one time, but you were only average? Sometimes the aspects indicate a potential only that has not been realized. Hmm, it looks like Saturn, the planet of difficulty and resistance, is squaring your Sun. I believe that has manifested as this disease. This is a life lesson for you, and according to this chart, you were experiencing a Saturn return around the time the symptoms of MS appeared in you life. Perhaps it is karmic. Let’s see…..
Please do not think that I am dismissing astrologers as having no value merely because astrology is not science. Yes, an overzealous astrologer can harm someone by unduly influencing choice in relationships, career, health, medicine, identity, or beliefs. More often than not, the astrologers I knew were careful to leave the final interpretation of a chart to their client, and the reading sessions were forms of therapy or counseling that more or less left the client with something worthwhile to consider. Certainly this benign approach to cosmic religion is more entertaining than pure scientific reductionism. “I think we follow the basic law of nature, which is that we’re a bunch of chemical reactions in a bag.” Beyond entertainment or a form of popular counseling, however, astrology runs on thin ice.
One small incident brought home to me astrology’s invasive and potentially dictatorial character. One morning I was leaving the studio when my Danish girlfriend, a professional astrologer with Jungian tendencies, warned me to drive extra carefully or not drive at all. Somehow she divined from knowledge of my horoscope that something would threaten “metal” in my life that day. My old Dodge certainly had a lot of metal—nothing was plastic on it, not the dashboard, the chrome bumpers, the rear bed, nor the door panels—all metal. The suggestion irritated me and I ignored the advice. I drove normally all day as I went to work and ran errands. Remarkably, I encountered nothing abnormal or accidental that day or during the following three years in that truck until I junked it. Of course, my dear friend did not consider that I had a Saint Christopher medal hanging from the mirror—just kidding. There is an endless stream of possible disasters on any day indicated in my chart by the position of Mars, Pluto, Saturn, and that imp, Mercury. When predictions from astrology or from any mantic art fail to materialize, justifications are as infinitely available as are interpretations. When disasters happen, there is always something in a chart that explains why. Astrologers are never wrong? Astrologers are never wrong when they look backwards.
The temptation to turn to a psychic or astrologer who relies on psychic power increases when people are confronted with tragedy. “This can’t be the end of it,” you might tell yourself when someone close dies or disappears without trace. “I need confirmation.” Astrology along with most of the mantic arts provides the illusion that the cold, dark cosmos is a friendly place, and that it is personally concerned with us. Maybe it is concerned, but we certainly find ways to get in the way of that communication whether it is from God or some other Other. The mantic arts (like psychics talking to dead people on television) appear to be more of an obstruction than a path, because they fail miserably except to fool their audience. It is no wonder that nearly every religion of any consequence has warned against or strictly prohibited this kind of foolery and self-deception. Certainly the Buddha warned against it, as does the Bahai religion that follows science regarding astrology. Most westerners are familiar with the Bible prohibitions (Isaiah 47:13-15; Jeremiah 10:2; Deuteronomy 4:19). A false prophet can damage a whole culture or tribe with lousy information or false predictions. Modern cults have proven that statement far too often.
Hororary astrology is barely two thousand years old. Ancient Chaldean or Babylonian astrologers cast horoscopes to determine the fate of a nation, or the fate of a ruler that affected the fate of a nation, and not for the commoner. The latter practice emerged in ancient Rome and Greece around the time of Jesus. Early or proto-astrology in the Middle East usually followed a Moon centered system. But astrology changes as the culture advances. Today Sun centered systems are dominant. Astrology has been controversial all along its history. Prior to his conversion to Christianity in the 4rth century AD, Saint Augustine of Hippo lived a pagan life, believed in a form of Gnosticism and dabbled with astrology. Astrologers faced the same general skepticism then as today. Not much has changed with astrology. In his Confessions Augustine wrote:
“So did I not cease to consult openly those impostors called astrologers, because it seemed they had no sacrifices and offered no prayers to any spirit for their fortune telling; though true Christian piety always rejects and condemns it. I knew at the time a wise, very skilled and well-esteemed medical man, who when he learned from my conversion that I had devoted my time to astrological books, advised me in a kindly and fatherly way to throw them away, and not to waste my time and energy, which would be better spent on useful pursuits, on such vain falsehoods. He had himself, he said, so far studied the art as to want, in his early years, to become a professional: after all, if he had understood Hippocrates he would be able to understand astrology. Yet he had left it aside and followed medicine, simply because he had found it to be entirely false, and he could not as a serious-minded man seek his livelihood by cheating people. When I asked his why it was that many true predictions were made by astrologers, he replied that this was the result of chance, operating through nature. Yet at the time neither he nor my very dear friend Nebridius, who mocked every kind of divination, could persuade me to throw it aside, because I was more influenced by the authority of the astrological writers, and I had not yet found any certain and unambiguous proof, such as I looked for, to show me that those things truly said by astrologers who were consulted were right by chance not because of the skill of those who inspected the stars.”
My do-not-drive-your-truck-because-metal-is-under-threat-today incident pales in comparison to how astrology influenced the presidency and Ronald Reagan’s wife, Nancy, in 1981. After Reagan was shot and nearly killed, Nancy sought out help from the cosmos because she no longer trusted the government agents to protect her husband. Administration staff was frustrated often until Nancy said yes or no to an auspicious time her husband could fly or travel based on her astrologer’s advice. At first no one knew, not even Ron, that Nancy was manipulating events according to mantic advice. Nancy believed that this caused no problem except to change schedules. The former Chief of Staff begged to differ as I would. Wasted time in government is an enormous waste of my tax money, not to mention potential distractions that could have international political consequences.
Amy, my one time Agni Yoga mentor, practiced astrology most of her adult life. She was so facile with the art that she stopped setting up horoscopes—did not need them anymore, she said. [Amy "Telgar" died in 1982. For more on Agni Yoga, go here]. I could describe a situation for her that involved me. Amy knew my chart, one that someone else set up, so she had some reference in her memory. With a slightly upward tilt of her head and a squint in her eye, Amy entered her invisible universe in the zodiac. Her eyes would dart around as if looking for markers and connecting dots. Within a minute she would rattle off a number of observations. She reduced these insights to a few simple words of advice in her with a take it or leave it attitude. I can not recall if I ever took her seriously enough to act on any thing she said. Nevertheless, her performance was impressive. Her performance underlined a reality that almost all astrologers must face. I came to see that astrology is not about the chart—it is about a psychic or intuitive response to a client’s needs and about agreement. The impressive horoscope gives an illusion that a caring cosmos has written an encrypted message for you. It is up to you to believe that the astrologer can decipher the code.
Some years ago in 1998 a man named Harry emailed me to say that his study of astrology began in 1983 about the time I rejected it. He read an article that mentioned my experience. His entry into that world had two components. When he was a computer science student in college in 1967, he assisted his professor on a project. This was when computers took up whole rooms, and data crunching was tediously long. His job was to watch the machines, to retrieve the data, and to compute and transcribe the results for his professor. Harry said he did this for 2 weeks, 8 to 9 hours a day. During the process he reports an uncanny ability to envision the entire system at work at one stage. He said that he could be working at a high pitch sometimes with incredible accuracy and somehow “hear” the numbers talking to him about the experiment. He shared his intuitive insights with his professor, who allegedly elaborated on them and verified them with technical explanations. “His training and logic and my mystical observations were always in harmony and often he redesigned his experiments based on things I told him that he was not aware of.” Fifteen years later this fellow was alarmed that his younger sister became absorbed with astrology. So Harry, being a scientist and all, decided to plunge into the world of astrology with the intent to debunk it and to “rescue” his sister. “The more I studied, the less able I became at using logical discourse to debunk it,” he wrote. He began to notice the same phenomena that he experienced at the computer lab. “My eyes were confronted not with columns of numeric data, but rather with a wheel, with numbers, glyphs, and angles that taken together produce a very large number of permutations and combinations. While my subconscious tried to comprehend all the possibilities, my subconscious produced a miniature story line. A subsequent examination of the story line produced wonderful benefits for myself and for the person whose chart I was “reading”. Saved marriages, depressions lifted, successful career changes, etc. Again, I think this “works” because I am a loving, middle-aged man studying the Truth of what God wants for us all—happiness and fulfillment.”
Harry’s is a case of going native. Social scientists and research specialists know that the topic or culture they study will influence them and possibly confuse them or tempt them to join. They also know that we are social creatures that adapt rather well to a wide variety of beliefs and ways of living. One hypothesis calls this “social contagion.” So it pays to not only research the topic vicariously before plunging into the waters, so to speak, but it also helps to sustain regular peer reviews as a reality check while we swim. The latter process is valuable because it minimizes subjective bias and maximizes objective worth. What Harry failed to consider was his level of suggestibility while in trance, or while he was entranced if you prefer. As an artist I know this state of mind very well as pieces of a design “come together” and resolve after I’ve been absorbed in my work. It happens almost spontaneously and often surprises me. When I was young I was a chronic daydreamer missing chunks of lessons in the classroom at school.
That holistic feeling, I’ve learned, is ephemeral with creative projects. I may look at what pleased me one day and wipe it out the next. In other words, I reality tested the expression and found a way to improve it. Or some critic, like one of my daughters, noted something that revealed a problem I had missed. Astrologers do not expose their readings to critics for peer review unless they are just learning the craft. The client must choose to take it or leave it. Harry has that daydreaming or dissociation capacity that serves him well as an astrologer. In my view he mistakes his grasp of a “story line” for a grasp of a cosmic message, when in fact all he does is tell a story to a client who either agrees or disagrees with part or most of the story. A part is quite enough for any astrologer (or most clients) as that is the “Truth” that was supposed to find its way to the client. Horoscopes must have a way to give you only what you need at the time. All is well. As above (astrologer), so below (client). Harry feels happy and fulfilled.
When Harry first contacted me he was interested in a book I referenced. Hamlet’s Mill: An essay investigating the origins of human knowledge and its transmission through myth may be the longest essay I have ever read. In the 505 pages of fascinating if sometimes-difficult going I read, or rather plodded through 23 chapters and over 100 pages of appendices. The authors (Giorgio de Santillana (1902-1974) and Hertha von Dechend (1915-2001) blaze a meandering trail through ancient mythologies from India, Sumeria, Egypt, Finland, the Americas, China, and many other cultures to support their thesis. They passionately surmised that the myths we now view as fanciful stories about gods in the heavens emerged from mankind’s archaic language about the precession of the equinoxes and the moving vault of heaven. In effect, they said that the Royal Science, astronomy, or what passed for it in a Neolithic time (circa 6,500 years ago) is the main source of myth worldwide. The essay’s title, Hamlet’s Mill, is another name for our galaxy the Milky Way. Hamlet’s Mill is a direct descendant of Amlodhi’s Quern. Amlodhi (Amleth, Amlet, Hamlet, and quern, mill, mill wheel) is a character from an Icelandic myth that migrated to Denmark. The authors trace the roots and evolution of the story behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The ancient Icelanders viewed the great swath of stars as a cosmic mill grinding grain with the North Star at the center pole.
The origin of the Amlodhi story comes from “high myth,” a form of myth or a Mono-myth that contains archaic language for natural observations. High myth worked on many levels simultaneously for archaic societies. As knowledge increased and culture compartmentalized into science, ritual, art, and entertainment, the authors argue that human cultures lost the ability to understand the archaic concepts. These primitive, sophisticated descriptions of the heavens served as valuable guides for agriculture, seafaring, and prediction of seasons. The stories about the stars (gods) helped the tribes to mark time. The heavens served as an eternal cosmic clock, but the precession demonstrated that the clock was mutable, not fixed. These practical stories about the heavens evolved into entertaining fables about the antics of the gods (stars and planets) as well as epic morality plays. As myths the stories helped define a culture and sustained a connection with origins.
Eventually men with their inherently creative minds mistakenly interpreted the time cycles as somehow indicative of their character and fate, and they created the art of astrology, but it was always a mistake. This judicial and hororary astrology developed late in Babylonian culture (not early as New Agers argue) in incomplete form, and it emerged as the Greek Ptolemaic system around 2,000 years ago. It is this latter system that most influences the art of astrology in the West and in India today. In the case of astrology it is man who plays the part of Demiurge in Gnostic myth, the Demiurge being the false creator god who made the physical universe for his selfish pleasure. The last statement is my conception, but Santillana and Dechend argue that astrology completely misses the point of the genius of ancient astronomers and their language. “The greatest gap between archaic thinking and modern thinking is in the use of astrology. By this is not meant the common judicial astrology which has become once again a fad and fashion among the ignorant public, an escape from official science, and for the vulgar another kind of black art of vast prestige but with principles equally uncomprehended. It is necessary to go back to archaic times, to a universe totally unsuspecting of our science and of the experimental method on which distinguishes the verifiable from the unverifiable.” 
So astrology, as an example of divination par excellence, completely collapsed for me into a pile of parts with no heart, no history, no science, and no nuts and bolts to hold it together but creative imagination. But why burden my creative imagination? I can use my creative imagination without astrological pollution when it comes to my relationships, business deals, spirituality, and day to day affairs. If one of my clients asks me about astrology or it is a component of their cult belief system, I rarely have time to go into it in depth, certainly not to the extent that I indicated here. But I do show them evidence to initiate their knowledge base. If someone can grasp how a reading of one person’s horoscope can apply equally well to a wide range of people, then he or she has already learned something valuable. The finer discussions about the archaic origins of proto-astronomy and Hamlet’s Mill are usually too involved and may be philosophically inappropriate for the intervention process. As a deprogrammer I am not as concerned if a person continues to consult an astrologer as I am that she or he knows when the astrologer crosses the line to take over their money and lives.
My reading of Hamlet’s Mill began in 1982. To critique the authors’ theory I needed to turn to experts. The authors apparently bit off more than they could chew (or grind) as they left large chunks of information unresolved, made mistakes, and did not prove their theory that stone age men or women discovered the precession of the equinoxes and the shifting of the Celestial Pole. This precession discovery is usually attributed to Hipparchus, around 120 BC. There is no reason to believe that all the great myths sprung from prehistoric sky gazing, but some certainly may have. Does this mean that Santillana and Dechend were wrong about astrology? No, not any more than St Augustine’s advisers were wrong. But I will repeat again, that astrologers are never wrong because they are not trying to be right in a scientific or predictable sense. They are merely out to convince. The question is: Are you convinced?
 If the reader is interested there are good sources of information that debunk astrology, but the list is very long. Look for articles in the Skeptical Inquirer and The Skeptic magazines. A very good source is R.B. Culver and P.A. Ianna, 1984. The Gemini Syndrome, (Prometheus Books). For evangelical Christians, I recommend Ankerberg, John, & Weldon, John, 1989. Astrology: Do the heavens rule our destiny? (Harvest House). The authors include scientific information, but I am uneasy with their reliance on “demons” or evil spirits to explain why astrology works. Why complicate the issue when mundane solutions exist?
 Ankerberg and Weldon (see footnote above) report on the evangelical view. Mani (216-277 AD) was a Babylonian prophet who incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Christianity. Mani may very well be the prototypical New Ager.
The Buddha taught that one's future is conditioned primarily by one's karma, not by the stars and he condemned astrology and expressly forbid his monks and nuns to practice it. One story in the Jataka (Buddha) pokes fun at those foolish enough to make decisions based upon astrological predictions. Despite this astrology is widely believed and practiced in most Buddhist countries and not uncommonly monks act as astrologers.
 Tester, Jim, 1987. A History of Western Astrology (Ballantine Books), 108-109. For an archaic translation see Harvard Classics, (1909, 1937) “The Confessions of St. Augustine” translated by Edward B. Pusey, 47-48.
 "After March 30, 1981, I wasn't about to take any chances. Very few people can understand what it's like to have your husband shot at and almost die, and then have him exposed all the time to enormous crowds, tens of thousands of people, any one of whom might be a lunatic with a gun. I have been criticized and ridiculed for turning to astrology, but after a while I reached the point where I didn't care. I was doing everything I could think of to protect my husband and keep him alive." Reagan, Nancy, with William Novak, My Turn (Random House, 1989).
 Santillana, Giorgio de, and Dechend, Hertha von. 1981 (originally published 1969). Hamlet’s Mill: An essay investigating the origins of human knowledge and its transmission through myth. David R. Godine, 13.
 Thompson, Gary D., 2004. “Critics and Criticisms of Hamlet’s Mill” <http://members.optusnet.com.au/~gtosiris/page9j.html>