Populist Astrology

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The zodiac signs in a 16th-century woodcut.

Synonym: Popular astrology

A form of astrology which does not base its interpretations on actual birth charts but makes generalised statements for each sign of the zodiac based on people's birthdays. Without access to people's year or time of birth, it can only use the sign position of the sun. It may refer to the sun sign as the star sign. The twelve signs are sometimes further divided into three decans (an easy way to divide up birthdays) but apart from that, populist astrology ignores any further details. It results in all humans being categorised according to twelve types, regardless of their age or personal circumstances. With such a one-sided and incomplete image it is not surprising that the character analyses and predictions are usually false and meaningless.

Populist astrology is most widespread in newspaper columns and the majority of readers are unaware that any other type of astrology exists. Linda Goodman's Sun Signs book became a best-seller and sold millions of copies, yet did little to inform her fans of the complexity of actual horoscopes.[1] These over-simplifications help to explain why so many intelligent and sensible people reject "astrology".

There is a growing awareness among the public, however, that a horoscope is a highly complex and individualized matter.

Notes and References

  1. Linda Goodman, 1968, Linda Goodman's Sun Signs, Taplinger Publishing Company, Inc.