Astrology has been around for thousands of years and continues to have devoted followers in the modern day. With its complex system of zodiac signs, planetary movements, and horoscope predictions, astrology bears many similarities to organized religions.
This raises an interesting question – can astrology itself be considered a religion?
In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the arguments for and against classifying astrology as a religion.
The Case for Astrology as a Religion
Shared Characteristics with Established Religions
Like many faiths, astrology provides its followers with a framework for understanding their lives and the world around them. The zodiac signs give people an identity and set of characteristics. The movements of the planets and stars offers reasons for why events happen. Astrological readings and horoscopes give guidance for the future. These functions are similar to the roles traditional religions and belief systems play in people’s lives.
Additionally, astrology has sacred texts and guides like tarot cards, birth charts, and complex astrological calculations. There are experts like astrologers and psychics that devote themselves to studying astrological principles. All of these components come together to form an astrological tradition that is passed down through generations.
Provides a Sense of Meaning and Purpose
For many people, astrology gives their lives a greater sense of meaning and purpose. By understanding their astrological makeup and charts, people feel connected to the greater cosmos. The zodiac gives people a community of others who share their sign. Events in life are given meaning by connecting them to the movements of celestial bodies. This sense of one’s place in the universe is a fundamental purpose that religions aim to provide as well.
Rituals and Practices
Devoted astrology followers engage in rituals and practices associated with their belief system. Practices like astrological readings to plan for the future, consulting horoscopes, celebrating key planetary events, and meditating on zodiac signs give structure and routine to some astrology followers’ lives. These rituals bear similarities to religious practices in other faiths.
The Case Against Astrology as a Religion
Lacks Common Elements of Organized Religion
Though astrology carries some religious traits, it lacks many elements common to traditional organized religions. Astrology does not have any formal institutions, places of worship, moral code, or governing structure. There are no obligatory rituals, prayers, or rites of passage. And astrology does not necessitate believing in any deities or higher powers. The informal and decentralized nature of astrology makes it fall short of qualifying as its own religion.
Based on Pseudoscience, Not Theology
While religions derive their belief system from theology, creation stories, and faith in the supernatural, astrology is based on ideas of pseudoscience. Though some principles of astrology are centuries old, the legitimacy of astrological beliefs and horoscope practices are not founded in scientific fact. Without a formal theology driving the belief system, it is difficult to categorize astrology as a true religion.
Primarily Used for Guidance, Not Worship
For most followers of astrology, it is a practice used for guidance rather than an object of worship. People may look to their horoscope for insights into the future but not pray to astrological bodies or forces. Astrology is generally treated as a meditative, reflective, and introspective practice rather than a faith-based worship. This degree of separation keeps astrology from being a fully-fledged religion of its own.
While astrology shares some common traits with organized religions, there are significant differences that likely disqualify it from formally being its own religion. Astrology lacks formal institutions, places of worship, moral codes, and other hallmarks of religion.
However, astrology does offer its followers a sense of meaning and ritual that provides similar benefits to religion. Ultimately, astrology occupies an intriguing middle ground between theology-based faith and completely secular practice. The debate around whether it can rightly be called its own religion will undoubtedly continue.
But for most followers, the most important thing is the sense of guidance and connection that astrology offers in their lives.
Tarnas, Richard. 2006. Cosmos and Psyche. New York: Plume.
Campion, Nicholas. 2009. A History of Western Astrology. London: Continuum.
Fuzeau-Braesch, Suzel. 1972. Astrology: The Divine Science. London: Souvenir Press.
Hi there, I’m Mallory Miller, a proud Florida woman living and loving life in the Sunshine State with my husband of 50 years, Mike. I spent my career in journalism and public relations, uncovering stories and promoting causes close to my heart. Now, I’ve redirected my energy towards our joint venture: a website where we share our candid experiences and insights on the triumphs and challenges of senior living.
I believe in authenticity and strive to bring this to our audience through our site. The golden years should be just that – golden, and I’m committed to shedding light on the reality of it all: the beautiful, the difficult, and everything in between. From Jacksonville, where I was born and raised, to Sarasota, where we now reside, I aim to bring a slice of Florida and its vibrant senior life to our readers across the globe.