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Sun-Sign Astrology: Pros and Cons

Sun-Sign Astrology: Pros and ConsIn the 40th episode of the podcast astrologers Kelly Surtees and Austin Coppock join the show to talk about the pros and cons of Sun-sign astrology.

The starting point for our discussion is a phenomenon where sometimes people  who are just getting into the study of more advanced forms of astrology go through a period of denigrating Sun-sign astrology as being “not real astrology.”

During the course of the episode we explore the question of whether Sun-sign astrology qualifies as “real” astrology, talk about some of the positive and negative aspects of the subject, and then try to determine whether it has a net positive or negative impact on the field of astrology in general.

Outline of the Show

Below you will find an outline of some of the different topics that we touched on during the course of the show, followed by links to download or stream the recording.

  • Sun-sign columns started being produced in the 1930s and 40s, partially as a way to sell newspapers.
    • R.H. Naylor in the UK starting in 1930. Rival paper followed suit Edward Lyndoe.
    • Kim Farnell in the book “Flirting with the Zodiac” talks about how in the 13th BCE the Hittites determined a child’s fate by the month of its birth.
  • Prior to the 20th century people didn’t necessarily identify themselves with their Sun-sign as much as we do today. More likely to identify with their rising sign.
  • Before newspaper columns, the popular form of astrology was almanacs.


  • It is most people’s gateway into astrology.
  • Keeps astrology alive in the public consciousness, more than it would be otherwise.
  • Provides an accessible introduction
  • The Sun is important in everyone’s chart, and for some people it will be particularly descriptive.
  • It trains you to look at a single configuration from the perspective of all 12 possible risings.
  • It also aids in developing delineations that will be comprehensible to the laymen.
  • Writing them is great training for the apprentice astrologer
  • If reading sun sign columns, read for your ascendant sign as well as your sun sign (based on how they are often written).


  • Too simplistic.
  • Doesn’t represent astrology or astrologers very well.
  • Gives people a false idea of what astrology is really like or what it can do.
  • Astrology is so much more than just sun signs
  • Easy target for skeptics.
  • Not all horoscope columns are written by astrologers, evidently.
  • Since most horoscope columns tend to be short they don’t tend to be super useful. Like a sweet candy for your day/week/month. Often written to target audiences rather than to fully express the astrology. Typically the brief includes write ‘up beat’ rather than include cautions.
  • For some people their Sun-sign may not be as important as other placements, and thus they could be turned away from astrology rather than drawn into it due to this.


A full transcript of this episode is available here: Episode 40 transcript

Listen to This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • Thank you so much for the informative and fun podcasts! You’ve really hit a chord with the intermediate astrologer. I am not a beginner but not yet able to follow the conversation at the adult table. I really enjoy the dynamic between Chris, Kelly and Austin. I will be sure to vote for you guys in the upcoming ISAR survey for speakers. Quid pro quo Clarice! I am also listed in the speaker pool for “Astrology and Storytelling” to discuss how I used astrology to predict character behavior and forecast storyline events in my fantasy novel, Tales of the Deer Witch. Consider ticking the box for me as well and here’s hoping we all get to meet in California in 2016. Keep doing what your doing! xx

  • Another great episode. Thanks for this. I just had to comment after hearing the bit about Final Fantasy Tactics (loved that game), as it isn’t the only video or computer game that has used sun sign astrology. One more recent example is The Sims, which allows you to set a sun sign for a new Sim that you create. Fun!

  • I did try to check on the “urban legend” re: Evangeline Adams and the judge requesting the chart interpretation. Interesting research. A Nick Levine wrote his senior thesis on Evangeline Adams, which included a lot of information re: the court case, but sadly, no mention of the “urban legend”. The Court Magistrate, Freschi, was extraordinarily concerned about separating the spirit of the law, i.e, to protect the gullible from fortune tellers, versus E. Adams approach which was highly professional and consisted of her following exact procedures grounded in astronomical foundations. Very interesting reading. (Side Bar)- I came across this entry in the Bibliography – Fingleton, Eamonn. “God Invented Economists To Make Astrologers Look Good—So Why Do Economists Get All The Nobel Prizes?” Forbes, October 13, 2013.

  • I have a major beef about sun sign astrologer, which is 99% of what is on you-tube and the web in general. Now at least people can access their charts on line for free and perhaps are becoming acquainted with the Ascendant by the prompting of the astrologer hosts, who of course, know that it is all a hoax to tell someone that such and such will transpire in a given house based on putting the sun sign on the cusp of the first house, as if it were the ascendant. Utter nonsense! . What use is it to get people interested in incorrect astrology? It is a shame it has to be done this way…