adorno hated astrology. I mean, if you’re waiting for adorno to like what you’re doing and see hope in it you’ll be waiting a long time. I have to say though that he was Not Wrong, at least about astrology in the culture industries. he attributed its popularity to the fact that “the semi-erudite vaguely wants to understand and is also driven by the narcissistic wish to prove superior to the plain people but he is not in a position to carry through complicated and detached intellectual operations”, which is snotty as fuck and kind of unfair but like, not entirely unfair? it occupies your mind but doesn’t necessarily challenge it. to me, reading about astrology does indeed feel really really similar to reading tvtropes or a similar kind of pop culture analysis website, or doing five million “which hunger games character are you?” quizzes*, which lets me feel like an “expert” in something without really ever thinking too hard. I’m pretty sure doing much of that kind of thing is bad for you.
Adorno also talks about the reliance of the astrological cold reading on people’s narcissism and consequent ability to make literally anything applicable to ourselves. ouch. but I am, actually, repelled by modern Western astrology’s endless categorisation and recategorisation of the self even as I find it seductive, for the same reasons that I find it seductive. it’s fundamentally individualist, thus useless and deadening, and that’s why it’s so marketable, so consumable, such a narcotic.
but on the other hand, one of the main reasons a lot of people are mad about astrology is that it’s about how you are irrevocably shaped by the astronomical (historical) conditions in operation at the time of your birth, and that’s really threatening b/c what about free will. but isn’t the insistence that the individual is shaped by historical forces central to leftist thought?
and this is all kind of a recent development, astrological predictions used to be less about the individual and more about events, broad historical trends; less about psychology and self-help and more about actual fortune-telling.
modern Western newspaper horoscopes are focused on your sun sign; the sun rules the individual and the personality, and changes rapidly. but the outer planets move through the zodiac slowly, with entire generations under the influence of the same position of neptune (which rules fantasy and idealism), pluto (sex, death, and transformation), saturn (work, limits, hardship) and uranus (revolution).
solar astrology is totally individualist but what would a Uranian or Plutonic astrology look like? it’d be more structural, surely. astrological cold readings of a generation’s attitude to sex and death? sign me up
I mean I agree that astrology often promotes of a sense of powerlessness in the face of an inhuman world, I just think it’s possible to work with that