Net-Savvy Chinese Are Falling In Love With Western Astrology

Net-Savvy Chinese Are Falling In Love With Western Astrology

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Young Chinese mainlanders are becoming increasingly fascinated by Western astrology.

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A report recently surfaced that a 13-sign zodiac was now the correct one, and that the 12-sign zodiac was out of date for quite some time. The “new” star sign was known as Ophiuchus and it cause a media storm across the world.

As it turns out the story was misunderstood, NASA did not “update the astrological signs.” They just pointed out that when the system was developed by the ancients, the sky was different, and constellations have “drifted” since then. Second, the constellations haven’t changed. And third, Ophiuchus is an ancient constellation, identified by the Greeks thousands of years ago. It is still there, it just isn’t an official zodiac symbol.

This story rises and falls every few years, it appeared in 2011, and then in 2016. But here’s the interesting things about the story when it reappeared again in 2016.

This time, thanks to the internet, the story reached China’s distant shores. And the reaction was not what you might expect. According to David Railey, an Atlanta-based astrologer and author who has travelled and lectured there, sun sign astrology is popular in China today. “Many were confused by the report, which suggested they may not have been born under the astrological influences they thought they were,” he said.

But in China the response by at least one influential scientist in a position of authority was unlike anything seen in the West. Astronomer Zhu Jin, curator of the prestigious Beijing Planetarium, planned a public discussion of the issue and invited Railey to present astrology’s side of the story.

“About half of those in attendance were members of the press who treated the topic as a legitimate news story. We were able to clarify the difference between constellations and astrological signs, but the main discussion focused not on sun-sign astrology but on the kind of serious astrology that astronomers in the West rarely bother to learn anything about,” he said.

Railey says the event received widespread coverage in the media, including a lengthy story by reporter Youngming Huang. He writes for a paper called Southern Weekly, considered by some to be the New York Times of China. At CCTV, the country’s national public education station, science and program director Chen Li Hua is working on an educational program that explores the differences between Western and Chinese astrology and astronomy.

Near the end of the Beijing event, Zhu Jin publicly shared his opinion that Western astrology is a beautiful system worthy of investigation. Railey said, “Astronomers typically take a harder line in other parts of the world.” He points out that the advent of the internet has coincided with the emergence of a younger, more affluent and well-educated Chinese population. There are more than 1.3 billion people in the country, and many of these read English. “A large number have encountered western astrology on the internet and love it. It speaks to them,” he said.

Railey is a past president of the Metro Atlanta Astrological Society and is a member of the steering committee of the Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN) – a group that, among other things, seeks to improve the image of astrology. His book, The Soul Purpose, was recently published in the Chinese language. A promotional tour arranged by Chinese business partner Felicia Jiang drew large, enthusiastic crowds to lectures, workshops and book signings.

Book sales averaged about 200 copies per day the first month with the book’s first printing selling out after nine months. “Those attending the lectures were mostly young, 20- to 40-year olds who are wild about astrology. If there were chairs for 60 people there were 90 people standing,” he said.

Railey created a blog on Sina, an online Chinese newspaper published in English. By the end of last year the blog already had been visited by more than 208,000 visitors, and the total has since grown to more than 600,000. His name had been Googled in China three and a half million times. “What’s impressive is how serious Chinese students of Western astrology are about developing professional standards and taking the necessary steps needed to achieve certification.”

Nobody tell this to our astrology partner Seer Sive or we will lose her to Mainland China. And where would that leave us?

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