Putting a pin in this anti-astrology Daring Fireball post, “ECLIPSES SHOULD BE CELEBRATIONS OF SCIENCE, NOT PSEUDOSCIENCE." I want to know more about these tech-y, atheist-y, liberal dudes who hear someone (a woman) talking about magic and just spit with venom!


Astrologers horning in on the excitement about the eclipse is scientific sacrilege.


Actual science is the great accomplishment of mankind. The antidote to ignorance, superstition, religious zealotry, and nonsensical beliefs in general. An eclipse exemplifies, to even the lay-est of laypeople, just how advanced modern science is.


So here’s my “by the way” retort to Montúfar’s aside: how many astronomers today — not in “ancient” times — are also astrologers? Spoiler: the answer is fucking zero.

I’m forced to ask: Bro, who hurt you?

But also—tell me you’ve never been in the cone of totality without telling me you’ve never been in the cone of totality. A full eclipse is a chance to encounter the sublime, in all its terror and splendor. To touch cosmic infinity. The moon blotting out the sun makes rational sense, sure. You can describe it with numbers and equations, yes, and people have done that for millennia. But an integrated life contains more than calculus. An eclipse can transcend the rational. It can destabilize and re-enchant your experience of the world. That’s why people are excited about the eclipse.

Back to John Gruber’s post: it’s not alone in feeling aggrieved about astrology, around the eclipse. For instance, “Mom who pushed kids from moving car was astrology influencer disturbed by eclipse” describes a terrible tragedy that likely had less to do with astrology and more to do with postpartum psychosis, racial oppression, and the wellness-to-conspiracy-theory pipeline—all of which the article spends orders of magnitude less space discussing than it does astrology, which comes in for special ridicule and discrediting.


In 2017, NASA published a webpage dedicated to debunking various myths surrounding that year’s eclipse. One was that eclipses are prophecies of major life changes or impending events.

‘This is a common interpretation found in astrological forecasts, which are themselves based upon coincidences and non-scientific beliefs in how celestial events control human behavior,’ NASA’s webpage says.

NASA notes that it’s only human psychology that ‘connects eclipses with future events in your life.’”

Not as shrill as Gruber, but equally, emphatically anti-magic.

What does this brittle defensiveness mean? Can one be so bold as to hope that it portends a correction-in-progress, the restoration of science to its rightful place alongside rather than above magic?

Jasper Nighthawk @jaspernighthawk