Ideas of Order: The Meaning and Appeal of Contemporary Astrological Belief
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Astrology is a belief system that has existed for almost 2,500 years. This enduring form of belief has not been effectively studied by scholars and thus we know little about why beliefs commonly stigmatized as superstitions continue to appeal to people today. My research, based on fieldwork and interviews with astrologers in the Portland, Oregon area, demonstrates that the longevity of this belief system may be attributed to its ability to provide meaning and purpose to people. Throughout history, astrology has been adapted to and has evolved within the cultures in which it exists, and its latest adaptation reveals a close connection to the New Age movement. Astrological worldviews, which assume a correlation between predictable celestial cycles and human activity, are rooted in a premise of fatalism, but this analysis reveals a nuanced view of fate that often is empowering rather than limiting.