Astrology and Popular Religion in the Modern West
Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement
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.
Table of Contents
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 is a wonderful book, which has a lot of important things to say, not just about astrology, but about the nature of modern Western society.' Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol, UK 'Not concerned with the truth of its claims, Campion establishes a foundation for sociological inquiry to close a lacuna in understanding astrology's cultural status in contemporary Anglo-American society. To this end, he examines apocalyptic millenarianism, the New Age movement, Christian and "scientistic" rivalry in relation to the persistent fascination with the language of zodiac signs and the "judicial" astrological industry that has arisen from it. Campion's comprehensive approach ranges from fortune telling, media popularity and the complex skills involved with the discipline to philosophical and theological concerns with ethics.' Michael York, Cherry Hill Seminary, USA and Co-director London Academy for Cultural and Educational Studies