Astrology, modernity and the project of self-identity

Clements, Paul. 2020. Astrology, modernity and the project of self-identity. Culture and Religion, 21(3), pp. 259-279. ISSN 1475-5610 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This speculative and interdisciplinary article about Western and UK astrology recognises a fluid craft steeped in pre-modern ‘magical’ symbolism accommodating to differing degrees the modern, linear and literal. It embraces an open framework and employs personal experience that highlights the problems with self-understanding. Astrology may appear detached from its traditional religious foundation and has struggled for cultural legitimacy, but it offers a spiritual understanding, self-knowledge and self-determination. It divines a range of symbolic possibilities that encourages elective biography and instructs the project of self-identity. This in part assuages the existential need to find meaning, questioning established thinking and ‘rational’ cultural practices. Astrology embeds a spiritual outlook that co-exists with profane individualism and materiality highlighting dissonant modernity.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Dissonance, divination, legitimacy, self-reflexivity, spirituality, trans-rational

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


19 June 2022Accepted
9 August 2022Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

10 Aug 2022 12:14

Last Modified:

09 Dec 2022 10:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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