1st Edition

Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement

By Nicholas Campion Copyright 2012
    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    264 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores an area of contemporary religion, spirituality and popular culture which has not so far been investigated in depth, the phenomenon of astrology in the modern west. Locating modern astrology historically and sociologically in its religious, New Age and millenarian contexts, Nicholas Campion considers astrology's relation to modernity and draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews with leading modern astrologers to present an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the origins and nature of New Age ideology. This book challenges the notion that astrology is either 'marginal' or a feature of postmodernism. Concluding that astrology is more popular than the usual figures suggest, Campion argues that modern astrology is largely shaped by New Age thought, influenced by the European Millenarian tradition, that it can be seen as an heir to classical Gnosticism and is part of the vernacular religion of the modern west.

    1 Introduction: a million-dollar business?

    2 Cosmic liberation: the pursuit of the millennium

    3 The shock of the new: the age of Aquarius

    4 Celestial enlightenment: the new age

    5 End times: the new age and the age of Aquarius

    6 The writing of heaven: new age astrology

    7 Oracles to the vulgar: sun-sign astrology

    8 An evolutionary paradox: the survival of belief in astrology

    9 Salvation and the stars: astrology, religion and belief

    10 Superstitious times: the extent of belief in astrology

    11 Belief in astrology: a public survey

    12 In their own words: the astrologers' universe of discord

    13 With their own voices: interviews with astrologers

    14 Conclusion: modernity and normality


    Nicholas Campion is Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture and Principal Lecturer in Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He is programme director of the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology.

    "This work is valuable for both scientists of religion and historians with an interest in the development of esoteric movements and 'New Age' as well as the recent history of astrology from the end of the 19th to the early 20th century. It is also of interest to astrologers who want to look beyond the horizon of everyday practice, and would like to counter the partly ineffable polemic of ideological skeptics with substanitated arguments and facts." -- Gerhard Mayer, Journal of Scientific Exploration