Astrologers, Retrograde and Why We’re Not Wrong

Mercury retrograde

by Kelly Surtees

I’m writing this blog in response to this post, which seems to suggest astrologers are a bit stupid and maybe don’t really understand a few basic astronomical ideas.

That writer suggests the concept of a planetary retrograde comes from a “rather outdated concept, when the Earth was still the centre of the solar system.”

I’d like to refute and perhaps clarify this point.

Astrology is based on an experiential view of the solar system. For many hundreds of years, astronomers AND astrologers have known that the Earth is not at the centre of the solar system.

However, from an experience point of view, our perspective as humans on what is happening in the sky is based entirely on the Earth as center model. This is because from our position on Earth we experience the cosmos via an Earth-based model. We are on Earth so what we see when looking to the sky is from that vantage point. We are not on the Sun looking at the solar system.

The explanation the writer gives for how a retrograde works is actually quite good.

The point I want to make is that astrologers know planets don’t really move backwards. We understand it’s a trick of speed and perspective. What happens is that visually a planet appears to go backwards for a period of time – from our perspective here on Earth.

These days, astronomers focus on the mechanics of how the universe works, while astrologers focus on the philosophy of why the universe works and what it might mean.

There’s a fundamental difference in position and point of view here. There is cross over for sure: astrologers use astronomically-based information as the foundation of the meaning and perspective they infer from the planets and sky events.

Astrologers infer meaning from changes to usual patterns in the sky, like when a planet appears to move backwards, rather than its usual forward path, which has to be incorporated into the meaning of that planet and its cycle at that time.

Kelly SurteesIt does annoy me when specific features of astrological thought are categorized in isolation as a “reason” for why astrology might be false. This seems to show ignorance for the position we astrologers have and for the way we understand the sky.

Your thoughts?

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