If statistics are to be believed, close to 100% of people in the UK know their astrological sun-sign. But what is astrology, exactly? Is it merely a “survival” from the medieval worldview, and what is its relationship to modernity and scientific thought? Most pertinently, does it have something profound to tell us about the nature of popular belief, or vernacular religion? Nicholas Campion tells David why it does in this fascinating interview.

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Nicholas Campion is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Anthropology, and Director of the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture. His research interests include the nature of belief, the history and contemporary culture of astrology and astronomy, magic, pagan and New Age beliefs and practices, millenarian and apocalyptic ideas, and the sociology of new religious movements. This calls for a multi-disciplinary approach and, before joining Lampeter University in 2007, he was, in turn, Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions and Senior Lecturer in History at Bath Spa University. He is a member of the international executive committee of the conferences on the Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (INSAP), is editor of Culture and Cosmos, a Journal of the History of Astrology and Cultural Astronomy and is in the editorial boards of Correlation, the Journal of Research in Astrology and Archaeoastronomy, the Journal of Astronomy in Culture. His most recent publications include Astrology and Cosmology in the World’s Religions (New York University Press, 2012), Astrology and Popular Religion: Prophecy, Cosmology and the New Age Movement (Ashgate 2012), and the two-volume History of Western Astrology (Continuum 2009).

1 reply
  1. Avatar
    Martin L. Williams says:

    The fact that people don’t believe in something, such as ghosts doesn’t mean they necessarily disbelieve in that thing.

    Astrology is the influence of astronomical objects & systems on behavior, although the majority of astrological systems comply with this definition, they do not constitute the totality of astrology, I would suggest that the day (circadian cycle) & the year (seasonal biology & seasonal sociology) fulfill this criteria, & there may be others waiting to be discovered.
    Some of the more “Scientific” approaches are:
    1.Seasonal Biology, Douglas McMahon et al
    2.Seasonal Sociology”, Tonya Davidson
    3.Seasonal Psychology, SAD
    1.Cycle Theory, Edward Dewey
    2.Unified Cycle Theory, Stephen J. Puetz
    3.Gauquelin Effect, Michel Gauquelin, Percy Seymour, Suitbert Ertel, Michael Startup
    4.Harmonic Astrology, John Addey, Peter Roberts
    5.Astrogenetics, Maurice M. Cotterell
    6.Heliobiology, Alexander Chizhevsky
    7.Cosmic Cybernetics, Theodor Landscheidt
    8.Biometrology, William F. Petersen, S.W. Tromp

    And some of the most interesting texts I would suggest are
    1.“Cosmic Influences on Humans Animals & Plants an Annotated Bibliography”, John T. Burns, 224pp, 1997 2.“Geo-Cosmic Relations the Earth & Its Macro-Environment”, G.J.M. Thomassen, 1990
    3.“Cosmic Cybernetics the Foundations of a Modern Astrology”, Theodor Landscheidt, 1973
    4.“Sun Earth Man a Mesh of Cosmic Oscillations How Planets Regulate Solar Eruptions Geomagnetic Storms Conditions of Life & Economic Cycles”, Theodor Landscheidt, 1989
    5.“Astrogenetics the New Theory”, Maurice M. Cotterell, 1988
    6.“The Cycles of Heaven”, Guy Lyon Playfair & Scott Hill
    7.“Cosmic Loom the New Science of Astrology”, Dennis Elwell, 2008
    8.“Solar Revolution Why Mankind is on the Cusp of an Evolutionary Leap”, Dieter Broers
    9.“Seasonal Sociology”, eds Tonya Davidson, Ondine Park
    10.The Moon
    1.“The Lunar Effect Bibiography, Peter J. Marko
    2.“The Moon & Madness”, McCrae Niall
    3.“Human Biorhythms & the Moon”, Aleksandr Petrovich Dubrov, 1996
    11.The Gauquelin Effect
    1.Michel Gauquelin
    1.“Cosmic Influences on Human Behaviour”, Michel Gauquelin, 1986
    2.“The Spheres of Destiny”, Michel Gauquelin, 1980
    3.“The Truth About Astrology”, Michel Gauquelin, 1983
    2.Percy Seymour
    1.“Astrology the Evidence of Science”,
    2.“The Scientific Proof of Astrology Tune into the Music of the Planets”, Percy Seymour
    3.“The Scientific Basis of Astrology”, Percy Seymour
    4.“A Subject Worthy of Study”, Percy Seymour?
    3.John Addey
    1.“Harmonics in Astrology”, John Addey
    2.“Harmonics Anthology”, John Addey
    3.“A New Study of Astrology”, John Addey
    1.“The Message of Astrology”, Peter Roberts
    2.“The Validity of Astrological Theory as Applied to Personality with Special Reference to the Angular
    Separation Between Planets”, Michael Startup, 1984
    3.“The Tenacious Mars Effect”, Suitbert Ertel, Kenneth Irving , 1996


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