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Topic section: Astrology and alchemy in modern society
TOPIC SECTION:
Astrology and alchemy in modern society
Astrology continues to be remarkably popular. Horoscopes can be found in many newspapers and popular magazines in America and mo
Image: The constellation of Sagittarius
The constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer), 1895
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
st European countries. Professional astrologers such as Nick Campion continue to flourish and even prosper. There are tens of thousands of horoscopes on the Internet and you can easily get in contact with an astrologer for a personal consultation. American president Ronald Reagan was indirectly influenced by astrology and it is routinely used in Asia to time events such as coronations or the laying of foundation stones.
Professional astrologers argue that the horoscopes in newspapers are not ‘proper’ astrology. T
Image: An alembic, used for distilling substances

An alembic, used for distilling substances, is central to alchemy, and can still be bought in Persian street markets
Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library

o do it accurately, the astrologer needs your exact birth time and then draws up an accurate chart to forecast your future. In statistical trials, however, even highly skilled astrologers fail to predict future events more accurately than tossing a coin. An attempt to discover the influence of the planets by looking at the statistical pattern without any preconceptions produced some interesting (though erroneous) results, but was scorned by the astrological community.
Although you cannot read recipes on making gold or the universal solvent in your daily newspaper, popular interest in alchemy has increased in recent years as a resul
even highly skilled astrologers fail to predict future events more accurately than tossing a coin
t of the phenomenal popularity of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Modern supporters of alchemy such as Adam Maclean fall into three overlapping camps: those who emphasise the mystical, psychological, self-improving side of alchemy; those who maintain the practical tradition; and those who use alchemical processes to make herbal elixirs (plant alchemy). For instance, the followers of modern Rosicrucianism use astrology and alchemy as a part of their spiritual training leading to personal enlightenment.

 
 
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Topic section: The decline and revival of astrology and alchemy
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Belief in alchemy and astrology almost faded away during the Enlightenment. They were resurrected in the late nineteenth century in a new guise which reflected modern concerns  > more

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Topic section: Astrology, alchemy and popular culture
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Proof that alchemy and astrology are true, seem to be continually tested in our popular culture. Although there is no certainty to the claims of either, many people still enjoy the romance of both  > more
 
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