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Is Astrology Becoming More or Less Popular?

Is Astrology Becoming More or Less Popular?

In episode 139 of the podcast astrologers Dayna Lynn Nuckolls and Jessica Lanyadoo join the show to talk about whether astrology is becoming more or less popular in society.

This question arose as a discussion topic recently in the astrological community after some recent media coverage of astrology, which included a piece in the New York Times titled How Astrology Took Over the Internet.

During the course of the show we discuss some different areas of growth and possible decline, as well as some of the nuances and difficulties associated with accurately gauging interest in astrology due to changing trends in publishing, technology, and culture.

The discussion ends up focusing on how the transformation of traditional gatekeeping structures, such as the book publishing industry, do seem to have led to an increase in the popularity of the subject in recent times, as well as greater diversity among both consumers and practitioners of astrology.

For more information about Dayna see her website ThePeoplesOracle.com

For more information about Jessica see her website LoveLanyadoo.com

Let us know what you think about whether astrology is becoming more or less popular in the comments section below.


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 139 transcript

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  • Disappointing that no actual numbers were offered in this program. Not even estimates on how many professional astrologers exist in the US, not to mention worldwide. No overview of how many astrological publications exist in print or even a guess as to how many websites feature astrology. With no numbers offered there’s nothing other than opinions and intuitions as to whether the field is expanding or contracting. The discussion was interesting but lacking in facts.

    • And we are supposed to come up with those numbers how exactly? I’m not even aware of any reliable estimates for most of the things you mentioned here. Without those sorts of statistics available, the point of the conversation was simply to discuss our subjective perceptions about the state of things.

  • The word ‘white’ was used just too many times for my comfort level and I have stoped listening to this episode at 36 minutes in. First, I don’t agree with what I consider to be some false dichotomies presented by both guests, but, more importantly, I’m disappointed at the derogatory remarks made about the ‘white Christian male’, ‘very very white straight people’ ‘Christianity’ and the ‘gatekeeper’ monotheistic religions as they pertain to astrology.
    Please don’t use the podcast as a platform to unpack your personal and political gripes towards these groups of people while at the same time extolling ‘tolerance and ‘inclusiveness’. I hope that future guests will be more respectful of the diverse racial, political and religious backgrounds of the podcast’s listeners. Thank you.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, I get how contemporary language about identity has often become pretty heavy-handed and hypocritically reductive, but isn’t it true that the majority of reputable and popular modern astrologers have been straight and white? I think the guest speakers were referring to this historical trend and how they hope to embody an alternative, not that they had any ‘gripes’ with this precedence, rather acknowledging what it is, how it has posed a cultural barrier in their own practice, and how they’ve confronted it.

      It reminds me of the old trope about making things about identity politics vs. not seeing how someone can’t help but see it through that lens. As a mixed-raced queer person, identity has always been a sore spot for me which astrology has helped me transcend, but I understand how this may not be the case for all practitioners

    • Hi. I’m Dayna. I’m an astrologer. I’m black. I’m a woman. My blackness informs my practice, colors my worldview, and I take pride in my identity. No apologies to be provided, and no further necessary.

      Now, you being threatened by the unquestioned (and clearly you desire it to remain un-articulated) reality of whiteness being the norm says more about your own refusal to reconcile the fact that it excludes large swaths of people.

      I’m here to point out, encourage, and facilitate conversations about race and it’s role as a gatekeeper to knowledge of and practice of astrology.. Your discomfort is not my concern. Astrology has the potential be used as a tool of liberation for the oppressed and poor. But first, it must be decolonized.

      Thanks for listening to the 36 minutes you did, Marnie.

      • Hi Danya. I did eventually finish this episode . I can see how our distinct ethnicities would be a real asset to clients having a comfort level with his/her astrologer, but politizing astrology teachers and astrology organizations without facts is unfair. Which school or organization is excluding large swaths of people? If there are more of one group of people who attend meetings or conferences, that is not to say that they are shutting the door to others, rather there are just more of them that sign up, pay and attend that particular meeting. Those details of paying and traveling are the equalizers. Astrology is and always has been multi-cultural. India and China for example, are densely populated countries that have very ancient and rich astrological traditions, so where is this idea coming from that white people are the norm, the architects of astrology that have or ever had ownership of astrology? Were you speaking of astrology in the US ? Are there any astrology courses that exclude people based on race, sexual/gender identity, religion or gender in India, Europe or the US? I am unaware of any professional astrology organizations or astrology courses that are not accessible to everyone who wants to pay for them, study hard and pass the course material. I’m not an astrologer, just a student and I’m willing to be enlightened on this point if someone can site specific organizations that discriminate. Chris pointed out that if young astrologers want to hang with other young astrologers, then form a group or join one already established online. As far as needing to reverse the patriarchy, I see that women, both lay and scholars are well represented in the (current) field of astrology as presidents of astrology schools, authors, teachers, lecturers, language experts/translators and educators offering courses. In time, there may be more, but this reflects women’s current (interest level) in going into these areas of the field, not men holding them back in the 21st century.
        Best to you Danya!

        • You’re right, Marnie. No one is actively EXCLUDING diversity. But very few groups are INCLUDING diversity. And that’s what’s being addressed. Do you know more Black Americans statistically “believe” in astrology than Whites? (Stats and sources are on my page: http://unlockastrology.com/african-americans-astrology/) But why isn’t that reflective in more of our conferences and organizations? Why did it take ISAR or NCGR, for example, some 40 years to ever have a person of color seated on their boards of directors?

          And not one person on Chris’ show that anyone was excluded from attending any of these mainstream spaces. They just didn’t feel welcomed. As the first Black person to ever sit on ISAR’s board, I know well that feeling. At the first astrology conference I attended in New York city, of all places, I was the ONLY Black person there. I got on an escalator behind a White woman and she suddenly clutched her purse. It’s a common reaction that many Black men have seen before. It didn’t matter that I was nearly foot shorter than she was. But that was her reaction. I eventually became that woman’s friend. Yet, that was my introduction to her. No one spoke to me at that conference, either. I didn’t expect a royal reception. But I had expected more warmth. I’ve heard other people of color and from queer communities express similar feelings.

          As for India, well, Western astrology is only now making headway there and keep in mind that Western astrology was BANNED in China until just about 10 years ago or so. (We still, for many reasons, have a dearth of Indian representation at Western astrology conferences.)

          Likewise, keep in mind that many largely White women didn’t make progress as speakers and writers in mainstream astrology until the mid to late 20th century. Again, they weren’t included. But you’re right: nobody excluded them. They somehow bridged the divide, and I’m sure that came from a collaboration of men granting space and women claiming space. That’s something that women like Dr. J. Lee Lehman talk about even now. So, please don’t be naïve to think that it’s just about whoever comes. It’s also about whoever feels welcome. One conference, for example, NORWAC has created perhaps one of the most diverse of conference attendances, in faculty and attendees, I’ve attended. That’s mostly because Laura Nalbandian has been reaching out and others are answering the call. Perhaps more will do the same.

          • Sorry Sam, but I have to make a correction on your point about women not making progress as speakers and writers in mainstream astrology until the mid to late 20th century. Here in America there were a few women who were able to make quite a rich living from Astrology. The most famous one was Evangeline Adams who started out as a palm reader in the 1910s and then became a household name in America in the 1920s when her astrological columns were published in bestselling magazines like Collier’s and Women’s Home Companion. These were mainstream publications distributed to millions of American households. And Evangeline Adams had her competitors. American Astrologer Belle Bart was equally famous and possibly richer before she lost everything in the crash of 1929 and then there was Catherine Thompson who – although not as well-known as Evangeline Adams – had no problem getting front page coverage in the Boston Herald when she wanted to issue astrological predictions. Catherine Thompson is best known as the publisher and editor of The Sphinx Astrological magazine which ran from 1899 to 1907. These are just a few women astrologers who appeared in print and who were well known to the general public before 1930. A quick review of American Astrological magazines in the 1930s shows quite a few women writers – almost as much as men. In any case, this goes to show that in America at least there was no shortage of women astrologers who were well-known and who made a decent living from Astrology.

        • Marnie,
          To be honest, I sighed heavily when I initially read your response. It is absolutely exhausting to have to keep explaining to white people how, and why, and when, and where my blackness has been cause for exclusion, lack of representation, and outright fear (As Sam so clearly explained). It’s exhausting to have to keep explaining over and over again why it’s not as simple as, “Well, if they had the money they’d come.”

          At this point it would seem that you missed the points where I addressed this in the podcast. So, I’ll say it here clearly so you can understand. REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

          When I met Sam, it opened up the possibilities of who and what I could be as a black person in the field of astrology. Sam took me under his wing and has mentored me and offered guidance. It’s easy to take for granted that certain options are open to you when the people who occupy those positions look like you. You don’t have to think about it. It never crosses your mind.

          The idea that a black person can just show up ignores the past and present reality of what it means to be black in predominantly white spaces.

          It’s so deeply upsetting to STILL be having these conversations in 2018. I expected push back, but the expectation doesn’t abate the anger. I recognize that there is likely a generational gap between you and I and it might explain your perspective. That’s me begrudgingly giving the benefit of the doubt.

          • Dayna, representation in these conferences is achieved by personal involvment, not rhetoric. Attendence is the first step. I don’t want to sound so dismissive, but I don’t buy that racism is the problem with conference diversity until listeners are presented with facts, or feelings that don’t involve race shaming. What explains my perspective is the tone of your own predjudiced, separatist commentary that encourages disunity. I like diversity that evolves naturally, is (built) by relationships and mutual trust not today’s idea of diversity achieved by lack of trust, demands, entitlements and divisive identity politics. So, I guess it’s time to agree that we don’t agree on some major points. Mr.Reynolds, thanks for your input.

  • What a delightful gift that my inquiry helped inspire this episode. I really enjoyed this exploration of how astrology is resonating today and who it is resonating for. Nicely done, Chris.