Astrology is a very old discipline. Its foundational
concepts, as well as most of its many elaborations and diverse avenues of
thought, were created and flourished within societies with very traditional frameworks.
As much as Western astrology has spent a good deal of the past two thousand
years ‘on the outside’, first with the Catholic Church and more recently with
the scientific/academic community, it has generally worked within cultural
norms and mores.
Astrologers are so used to being marginalized in modern
Western culture – mavericks at best, self-apologists at worst – that they might
miss the extent to which they may perpetuate assumptions and value judgments
that fail to reflect the diversity and complexity of contemporary society. As
Ian Waisler says on page 3 of his introductory chapter, Why a Queer Astrology? ‘… for the most part, self-inquiry around
how we as astrologers uphold or confront cultural norms tends to fall to the
background. And who could blame us … when in the eyes of so many
self-validating outside critics, astrology is the “gold standard of
As an example of entrenched cultural biases, astrology is
filled with gender assumptions: is the Sun really masculine and the Moon
feminine? Mythologist Joseph Campbell pointed out that East of Iran the genders
of Sun and Moon are opposite to those in Europe. Venus is perhaps the ultimate
feminine symbol in Western astrology, yet the planet Venus was associated with
the male god Quetzacoatl in Mesoamerican astrology. Even in Western astrology,
Venus as the morning star has been associated with Lucifer.
Relationship astrology, where two charts are compared in
order to explore compatibility, is another area rife with gender and cultural
assumptions. The famous studies done by Carl Jung in the early 20th century
examined successful marriages, with a
particular emphasis on the positions of the masculine
Sun and feminine Moon in the
charts of the man and woman. While appropriate enough for the
era, such assumptions are hard to maintain in an era where marriage is not
assumed, partnerships may be straight or gay, and gender identifications are
<imgsrc=”” alt=”” class=”wp-image-2790″ style=”float:left; padding:0 10px 10px 0;” width=”198″ height=”299″>Queer Astrology
Anthology is an interesting collection of articles related to lectures at
the 2013 Queer Astrology Conference. There are some transcriptions of the
question-and-answer sessions, and a few of the chapters are entirely
transcriptions. The editors have thus attempted to give the reader some sense
of the dynamics of the event – a tactic that always hits-and-misses in print.
The book is grounded in the qualitative research approach of
Queer Theory, and indeed it has a more academic bent than most books on
astrology. I found it refreshing that the contributors were able to reach
outside of astrology, and thus contextualize it. Astrology itself is a vast and
somewhat disorganized field, but most of the time the authors avoid
overgeneralization (an ironic, but by no means impossible, error for anyone
attempting to queer a subject).
<imgsrc=”” alt=”” class=”wp-image-2790″ style=”float:left; padding:0 10px 10px 0;” width=”198″ height=”299″>Queer Cosmos is
Colin Bedell’s first book, and he has done an excellent job of combining an
overview of the need for a queer astrology with a more practical expression of
how it might look. In his introductory chapter, Bedell says that the book was
written, ‘to be one of many comparative resources attempting to integrate the
constellation of astrology, queer studies, universal spiritual themes, and
skills for personal growth’ (page xv). That’s an ambitious project, but it
becomes more manageable when seen from the perspective of the inherent unity of
these themes. To do the work of integration is daunting, but if one starts from
a unified perspective they can be unpacked with relative ease.
After his introductory chapter, the author quickly goes on
to present the basics of astrology – planets and signs – recast from a queer
perspective, that is, freed as far as possible from heteronormative
assumptions. A section on each sign ‘in love’ presents relationship astrology
similarly recast from a queer perspective. These latter sections allow the
reader to jump to descriptions of the dynamics their own sign (and the sign of
significant others) to gain immediate insight. The book concludes with interviews
with others who are advocating a queer astrology, with the author’s intent to
transcend any of his own biases by presenting other perspectives.
Queer Cosmos is a
very accessible book that requires no prior knowledge of astrology beyond an
awareness of one’s Sun Sign (or simply, sign),
although it makes an interesting read for those with more astrological
experience. It is an excellent alternative to popular astrology books and
websites that assume a heterosexual bias, and it is a wonderful resource for straight
as well as LGBTQIA (i.e., queer) people. Colin Bedell has done a great job of
explaining why astrology needs to become free of its biases, and has gone on to
present a solid example of how astrology might then appear.
The post Queer Astrology Anthology and Queer Cosmos: The Astrology of Queer Identities and Relationships appeared first on Astrology News Service.
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