A Horoscope I’d like to see

| 17 Comments

(This follows on from my article on the recent Astrology kerfuffle and was written (but not used) in 2005 for Australian Sky and Space. The positions are correct for 2005, but Mars has obviously moved by now)

Even though the Sun passes through the classical constellation Ophiuchus, it is not included in the astrological zodiac. Also Cetus, where several planets can spend some time, is excluded (most recently Mars was briefly in Cetus). As well, Pluto wanders a bit further from the Zodiac than the others due to its high eccentricity, but the constellations it wanders into are excluded from the astrological zodiac. And what about asteroids, Kuiper belt objects and Plutinos? Astrologers are divided over whether to include them in charts, and although you can find astrological predictions on the internet that do include these objects, your average horoscopes exclude them. And what about space probes? Size and mass is no obstacle to astrological relevance, surely these messengers of human curiosity and hope should be included? Sadly, they are not.

I think it is a great shame that these constellations and objects are excluded from western horoscopes, they would be far more colourful than the wishy-washy current versions that suggest that Mars may be making you a little more aggressive. So I have written the kind of horoscope I would like to see.

Camoleopardis, the Giraffe

You may have to stick you neck out on this occasion. With Voyager 1 in your sign, you have a restless urge to go boldly where no hominid has gone before, but you only get as far as the video store before the bow shock hits. On the 12th of September 2013, a piece of shuttle booster will fall in the garden of all maiden aunts of Camoleopardians.

Ophiuchus, the Serpent bearer

You will find yourself tied up in knots today. The influence of Quaoar would normally help you find a creative way out of the loop, but Varuna will rain on your parade. You may, or may not, have a life changing decision to make on an odd numbered bus. Flipping a coin may, or may not, assist you to come to a decision of some kind.

Serpens: The serpent

You may be feeling a little bit snaky today, if not positively Stygian, and the influence of Pluto in this constellation will make you feel colder and glummer than before. At 12:15 am on Tuesday the hot water heater of all Serpians will explode, making cold showers inevitable.

Cetus: The Whale

With Mars in conjunction with Sedna, International Whaling Commission Members should beware of angry Inuit trying to sell blubber sandwiches. On Friday all Cetians will find a harpoon embedded in their fishpond, even if they didn’t have a fishpond to start with.

Some explanation:

Sedna is the Innuit goddess of the sea, and protector of seals and whales. Quaoar is a North American creation deity and Varuna a water deity. The Kuiper Belt objects named after them really were in the constellations named in 2005 when I wrote this, as was Voyager and Pluto. Mars was in Cetus at the same time as Sedna .

17 Comments

I have met a few poor souls who really do believe in astrology but I think the vast majority of people reading horoscopes don’t have any notion of how exactly it’s supposed to work and don’t care.

Some anecdotal evidence. At my university our student newspaper had horoscopes and the main thing the students wanted out of them was their “five-star day”: getting a five-star day was worth chatting about to your seatmates while waiting for class to start and of course it was great fortune to have one for a difficult exam. Almost everyone I knew, if they read the newspaper, that was what the page they turned to first. When they switched to a different provider of horoscopes that didn’t rate your day with stars, the students HOWLED. They didn’t care about the horoscope at all, you see. It was just some kind of explanation for why you had a five-star day and I doubt many people read them.

There’s good evidence that people don’t actually actually believe horoscopes, but use them as a feel-good factor as you indicate.

Some 44% of British people claim to read horoscopes often or fairly often. Yet only 6% of these horoscope readers take it seriously. Other research consistently shows that a minority of people who read horoscopes actually act on them. So why are all these people reading horoscopes if they don’t believe them. The best explanation is that people are doing it for fun. Reading that your calm and assured manner may help to smooth over an unspecified crisis, or that a romance could be lurking in your future may bring a wry smile to the faces of people looking forward to nothing more than an unrewarding day at the office, or a mountain of washing. Reading a horoscope may be no more meaningful than reading the comics which usually are on the same page. Everyone chuckles over the romantic advice offered in “Hagar the Horrible”, but few people would take it seriously.

One might think horoscopes are a bit like fortune cookie sayings – it’s minor fun to see what they say, though they tend to be overly serious. One can add “in bed” to them to add to the humor: “YOU WILL MEET INTERESTING NEW PEOPLE … (in bed).”

Steve: The Panda: You will “expel” another creationist today.

Seriously, a lot of people I know who are not hopeless fundamentalists have the same reaction to creationism. Deep down they seem to know it’s bunk, but it tells them things that feel good. The typical reaction is “what’s the harm in believing?” To which I reply that it’s not about the believing but the misleading that makes creationism such a problem. Sometimes that helps, but sometimes they quickly forget what I said and revert to the “feel good” stuff.

I have a special attachment to Ophiuchus since zeta O figured significantly in my dissertation, lo, these many years ago. Plus one of my sons and two daughters-in-laws are now Ophiuchans. What a hoot. Need more horoscopes for them!

Janus: Your inability to learn from the past in guiding your future behaviors will induce you to lie about the affair you are having with your girlfriend’s sister.

The best horoscopes I know are The Onion’s. Here are two recent examples:

Aries: Pluto rising in your sign indicates trouble in your work life, which is problematic because, well, for astronomical reasons, Pluto will be rising in your sign for the next 87 years.

Cancer: You’ll be taken aback this week by the news that your life story has been changed from a lightweight romantic comedy to a lengthy and detailed police procedural.

Where are all the ID creationists? You would think that since Behe’s new definition of science sweeps astrology into the picture they would eagerly be chiming in on this thread.

I personally know a couple of hardcore YECs, who take astrology seriously and consult “moon signs”–even though such beliefs are forbidden in the Bible.

My hypothesis is that creationism–particularly YECism–often contributes to belief in things that fundamentalist leaders do NOT want their followers to believe in. YEC means that there is magic. The believer then reasonably assumes that, well, there’s probably more than that one kind of magic. So, yeah, my astrological sign means something. There really are ghosts. I think I have some ESP. Luck is a real thing that can be influenced ad nauseum.

I wonder how much of that sort of stuff the resident trolls believe in?

Not just entertainment. In 2000 newspaper here wrote how in Estonia editor in chief didn’t got job in greatest bank of Baltic countries because she was Libra. They told that artistic work would better for “this girl”. Also Manager of greatest car dealer in Estonia said that president of US has his own astrologer too. Many companies in Estonia seemed to trust on astrology.

I don’t know situation now, but those seemed marks of moral/epistemological evaluation vacuum after destroyed christianity + destroyed communism and very fast rise of uneducated bisnes people to important positions. Original source: Mart Ummelas, Äripäev newpaper in Estonia, around year 2000.

Karen S. said:

Where are all the ID creationists? You would think that since Behe’s new definition of science sweeps astrology into the picture they would eagerly be chiming in on this thread.

Does this mean that The Edge of Evolution is a coded astrology text? And that the argument about the flagellum is actually an obfuscated reference to the constellation Serpens?

Perhaps we should derive the CSI of an object by casting its horoscope.

Let’s see.

Pluto is in Puppis; Mickey Mouse is in Fantasia and Donald Duck is crossing Crocodilus. Freshwater is in Subordinate, between Crux and Helix Teslae, and Hamilton’s laptop is under Aquarius. Dembski remains locked in Mustela (having been moving in retrograde) and Luskin is in the House of the Rising Sun, in New Orleans, on the 47th day preceding the first Sunday following the first full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.

By my reckoning that gives a CSI of absolutely nothing.

Does this mean that The Edge of Evolution is a coded astrology text?

Could be. After all, Dembski endorsed the Bible Code

Karen S. said: Could be. After all, Dembski endorsed the Bible Code

Urk. I wrote an online intro to cryptology and commented that Bible Codes were on the order of listening to the music of the Beatles backwards to find secret messages by John Lennon.

“ … but then again, Lennon was crazy enough to do such a thing.”

Any tendency to lump astrology in with ID/creationism tends to trivialize the harm done by creationists (I’m not accusing anyone of doing this, just making this point).

Sure, astrology is obvious nonsense, although most people who “believe” in it are pretty good natured about friendly skepticism, at least in my experience. But…

I’m not even aware of any organized attempts to even insert astrology into the public school curriculum as “science”, let alone organized efforts by astrologers to distort or eliminate the teaching of major scientific theories, or any efforts by astrologers to violate constitutional rights with an organized campaign to teach divisive sectarian cult dogma as “science” in public schools.

I’ve certainly never heard of a teacher drawing attention to him or herself by using a Tesla coil to “brand” students with astrological symbols, and subsequently being found to have been obsessively preaching dogmatic science denial during taxpayer funded public school science class, in order to promote belief in astrology.

I’m not aware of any heavily funded “institutes” that function solely to deceive the public about science and to provoke civil rights violations and uselessly expensive lawsuits, at the ultimate expense of the taxpayers in modest income rural school districts, which are based on astrology.

Since I’m not aware of any such “institutes”, I must not be aware of any profoundly disturbed right wing inherited wealth multimillionaires who, in their presumed self-loathing, shovel their money at them.

There may be some connection between astrology and massive political efforts to promote restrictions on and lies about contraception (while making personal use of it, of course), HIV denialism, climate denialism, etc, but I’m not aware of any.

(It’s conceivable that there could be some weak but statistically significant correlation between astrology and anti-vaccine crap. That’s because most anti-vaccine figures, and this includes the much-maligned Jenny McCarthy, are, while doing massive harm, victims themselves. A vast number of them are parents of children with tragic problems, and have been duped by a few creepy quacks. Thus, although the right has been picking up on it, anti-vaccine stuff is currently not associated with any one political view. I hope everyone understands that I strongly support vaccination as one of the major triumphs of public health and medical science, even though I have some sympathy for the situations of some deluded anti-vax people.)

While this most certainly does not excuse their outrageous irresponsibility, it does stand in contrast to creationists, who under US law have perfect freedom to simply be as creationist as they want to be in their private lives, but choose to attempt to use authoritarian force to impose the demands of their own post-modern and decadent mis-interpretation of Bronze Age mythology, which they themselves never even come close to living up to, on everyone else.

Klinghoffer appears to take astrology seriously. It’s hard to tell, as usual he weasels out of making a clear statement of what he does or does not believe.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomof[…]trology.html

http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomof[…]rom-god.html

harold said:

While this most certainly does not excuse their outrageous irresponsibility, it does stand in contrast to creationists, who under US law have perfect freedom to simply be as creationist as they want to be in their private lives, but choose to attempt to use authoritarian force to impose the demands of their own post-modern and decadent mis-interpretation of Bronze Age mythology, which they themselves never even come close to living up to, on everyone else.

Good summary of one of the key differences between the pseudo-science of ID/creationism and all other pseudo-sciences.

Sad to say, Pluto was demoted to a “dwarf planet” by the International Astronomical Union in 2006. So it has lost its influence over the fate of human beings. Do not waste your time keeping track of where it is.

Pluto is small and wends its way in a notoriously eccentric orbit. It was never suitable to be a planet or a guide to human affairs.

I don’t know how the astrologers adjusted to this change in Pluto’s status. My 2 1/2 year grandson took it hard. In fact he refused to believe that Pluto is not a planet. It can be hard to unlearn a fact, at any age.

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This page contains a single entry by Ian Musgrave published on January 16, 2011 7:24 AM.

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