Last night I finished T. J. Tomlin’s article, “‘Astrology’s from Heaven, not from Hell'” and it’s yet another data point urging me to delve into almanacs, which seem so revealing along so many different axes. The idea of astrology as “occult” being a semantic impossibility makes sense based simply on circulation. Looking at the citations, maybe that thinking was in fashion in the mid-twentieth century but subsequently almanacs became sexy and subversive…?
I’m also curious–and this has doubtless been addressed in the literature somewhere along the line–about the divergence in almanac contents. If astrological principles are simply a matter of doing the math, then theoretically they should all agree (unless somebody forgot to carry the one). Was that in fact the case, or did different individuals calculate different results? I’m also curious about weather predictions based on past performance: it seems some writers encouraged readers to do that, but including a historical weather write-up would seem to sidestep accusations of heresy and the risk of making an incorrect prediction (i.e. a win-win scenario for the almanac-maker), so why was it not fashionable?