My interest in horoscopes started a while ago. Sometimes I’d read the daily horoscopes in my local paper. It’s not that I believe in them, it’s just that they amuse me to read. As I read these daily horoscopes, I began to be curious about what the signs themselves actually meant, and the basic personality of each one. Sooooooooooo I did some research. Some horoscopes were friendly, and some were surprisingly offending. But here are the results of my research:

Aries (March 21 to April 20): The sign of the ram. A ram has three possible personalities, domineering, innocent or easily lead. Sometimes an Arian can be brash, rude or selfish in their eagerness to be noticed. But usually they are aware, and constantly seek adventure.

Taurus (April 21 to May 20, 21) : (This one is mine:) Taureans tend to dwell on wealth and social status. Usually they are headstrong, but very loyal with it. Taurus is the sign of a bull. Taureans are also very committed. If they want to achieve something, they will strive to reach their goal. Woohoo! Taurus power!

Gemini (May 21, 22 to June 21): Gemini’s enjoy making use of intellectual talent. Be at work or at play. Gemini is the sign of twins. They are typically bright and quick witted, the old adage of two heads being better than one ? If you are a Gemini you probably have a great interest in art, but have trouble finishing an uncompleted task.

Cancer (June 22 to July 22): Guess what this one’s the sign of! This one is actually the sign of a crab. Cancerians are very emotional people because they have immense sympathy for those less fortunate than themselves. They are tender loving and kind and will gladly sacrifice something they love for the ones they love. These are calm and silent people.

Leo (July 23 to August 22, 23) : Leo (as many know), is the sign of a lion. Leo’s are usually forceful, demanding and sometimes bossy. Leo’s have much respect for family life and children, though they are often prone to want to draw attention to themselves. They are very big on authority, but deal with all situations with integrity and fairness.

Virgo (August 23, 24 to September 22, 23): Virgos are usually pure wholesome and good, but in bad temperament, may have the characteristics of a Leo. They are very industrious and enjoy dissecting large quantities of information and analysing it. If you are a Virgo, consider yourself lucky! Because Virgo is the sign of virgin.

Libra (September 23, 24 to October 22, 23) : Librans are very sensitive people. If something goes slightly wrong, they will become very upset. Therefore to be completely happy, they need balance and stability in their lives. Librans are said to be the jolliest sign. They typically want to settle down, get married, and maybe even have kids. This is the sign of scales.

Scorpio (October 23, 24 to November 22) : Scorpio is the sign of (you guessed it!) the scorpion. This is the most sexual of the signs, surprising for an arachnid! They are usually not happy with just one love. They are also sly and the most risky of all signs. It is said to never tell a Scorpio a secret; they’ll never keep it!

Sagittarius (November 23 to December 21, 22): Sagittarius is the sign of the archer. They are very blunt and often say something offending without meaning to. They set very high standards for themselves and constantly need a challenge and thrive on excitement and the unknown. They don’t like staying in one place and are usually great travelers.

Capricorn (December 22, 23 to January 20) : This is the sign of a sea-goat. Capricorn’s always seem to see the down-side of things first, and are critics about everything. Some are narrow minded in their thinking but only because they want to do what they think is the very best thing to do.

Aquarius (January 21 to February 19) : This is the sign of the water-bearer. These people are regularly involved in some kind of intellectual study or debate, and are friendly people and talented conversationalists. Aquarians are unpredictable and full of surprise, you can never tell what they’re going to do next!

Pisces (February 20 to March 20) : This is the sign of fish. Pisces can often make the best of a bad situation, though they may become impatient and irritable when things don’t go their way. These are very free-flowing people.

I don't know how many places this experiment's been carried out in, but this example is from a sociology class (as far as I remember) in UCD, Ireland.

Students were handed out questionnaires asking them to fill in their birth dates, places, times, and other astrology-relevant information. Personalised character profiles were produced for each of them, and delivered a few weeks later. Each student was then asked to rate their personalised profile based on its accuracy, etc.

More than 90% of students rated their personalised character assessment as 'good' or 'very good'. Based solely on astrological information provided by them, researchers had been able to identify character traits, and write an accurate report on that person.

The problem was that all the 'individual' character profiles were the exact same. The researchers had written up a basic profile, consisting of information that everyone wanted to hear. I can't remember the details, but it probably consisted of statements such as 'You are well-liked by most people' and 'You consider yourself a fairly good worker'.

The fact that most students saw this single profile as relating to them personally highlights the care that must be taken when generating and reading horoscopes, and could even be seen as evidence deriding them completely.


Update - 12/02/2007

I posted this an age and a half ago as a result of my intense hatred for all things astrological and fatalistic. I resent the silly pages towards the back of women's magazines, the ACME'destiny-in-a-box' solution to having to take decisions that might affect the next few hours, the laissez-faire approach to life that is induced by a fervent belief in fate. The minute I spotted a Hate Quest I remembered this node and felt that althought it might not have been written with sufficient mire, wielding a pen dipped in wrath and tearing at my parchment with the vicious strokes of an infuriated hen-dragon, my feelings of intense disgust should emerge in the end. Here goes.


Horoscopes are a practical approach to astrology and its supposed influence on fate, that unfortunately guide the lives of many by describing one of seven common situations and blaming it on the position of a particular star on a particular date. I am curious to know, if my destiny is so heavily related to a factor as random as my birth date, why there aren't hordes of people born on the 22nd of February queuing up to take my job, to go out with my girlfriend and to snatch my chocolate ice-cream out of my hands, since they too were destined to eat it.

Prejudice of ideas does, unfortunately, lead to one modifying her behaviour in accordance with what an astrologer had to say. "Help will come from unexpected quarters this week" will make her more receptive to, and less suspicious towards the hundreds of helping hands that we normally refuse out of pride and basic mistrust. Then listen while she attributes this stroke of luck to the position of Jupiter.

How about a new approach that separates people by their role in society? This seems to be a more reliable criterion by which one can attempt mass predictions and is logistically easier to manage collective destinies. The column would read something like this:

The Unemployed
This week will see
the start of an intense
and fulfilling romance
in the workplace....

It might serve as an incentive to find a job and modify the destiny of those in need of a job rather than of all those hapless individuals who were perchance born on the same date, regardless of their needs, desires or marital status. Do marriages break when a receptive young lady is suddenly on the lookout for an intense relationship at work when her relationship with her husband happens to be undergoing a brief, probably transient, stressful period?

Lawyers
This week will be an
opportunity to perform
an act of kindness towards
a new acquaintance. This shall
not seem like the best course
of action but will be ultimately
rewarding.

I needn't go into much detail here but the rewards that patience with clients offers over the prospects of immediate cash benefit both of the involved parties. It is a pity that most lawyers I know are far too rational to bother with horoscopes and are so convinced of their status of quasi-deity that they know that they're in control of their destiny. Good for them.

Telephone Salesgirl
It might be a good idea
to remember the golden rule:
Do unto others as you'd have
them do to you. This should be
your guiding light this week.

Now that would minimise the amount of calls to convince us about the benefits of a life-insurance-policy-including-funeral-expenses that have the uncanny habit of striking half way through dinner.

We are preoccupied with belief and religion, fate and destiny, good and evil and other concepts to distraction, yet rarely pause to disentangle the barbed hooks of all that is spiritual from the confused fishing line of our rationality. So if I believe in one almighty and benevolent God who knows All and decides All, then how can I simultaneously believe in the effect of a barren ball of molten rock a million miles away? It is true that priests and rabbis and other members of the clergy have found a convenient way of going about the unexplained or inexplicable by blaming it on some god or other (others in some cases) while taking the merit for all that happens the way we wanted.

“Why did the lion eat my brother?”
“Because Aslan the Lion god decided that it was his time to be consumed”
“Why was I spared in the very same attack?”
“Because I was praying for you, oh powerful hunter.”
“Were you not praying for my brother too?”
“But Aslan the Lion god thought that he hadn’t offered sacrifices according to the ancient ritual”

And so religions evolved and converged, then bickered and diverged and in general followed the tortuous history that we all know and revere. The religion that we were fed as children, along with healthy doses of cod liver oil and the antics of the Dukes of Hazzard, served to mould us in a way that kept us mentally “healthy”, avoiding evil and seeking truth, so help me God. We grew in the knowledge that the deity we believe in and fear will guide us and will keep us from harm, accepting, on the other hand, that the harm that befalls us is God’s will and we receive it with a resigned impotence. How is it then, despite fervent prayer and adoration of artefacts that represent our very own deity, that we can give two hoots about what the clever usurpers of our predisposition to superstition decide to feed us? Is it the stars or is it God that decides?

This leads to another equally ineffable query. Are we polytheistic by nature despite our firm declarations to the contrary? Polytheism lasted much longer than monotheism has been around, with gods that stemmed from nature being around ever since man the farmer had the time to look around him and wonder about the scale of all that surrounded him. Monotheism is a much more recent concept, and was only introduced four thousand years ago. We do, however, unwittingly regress to the primeval polytheistic nature by splitting God up into tangible Saints and the other ecclesiastical nonsense that we revert to when in need of immediate succour.

Are the stars and resulting horoscopes merely an addition to this desire to hedge our bets when attempting to believe in that which we can’t see or feel? We’re not quite sure who or what is actually operating the strings in the cosmic puppet show so we’re cautious not to make unnecessary enemies. It is true that belief is, by its very nature, uncertain but querying this is regarded as heresy so we don’t dare express this. Since it happens to everyone at some point or another, the wholesale dishing out of a Saint for every occasion not only reduced the fervour of belief in a single God, but paved the way for other pagan superstitions to enter our lives, aided and abetted by residual belief in one of the oldest gods known to man, the stars in the sky.

Hor"o*scope (?), n. [F. horoscope, L. horoscopus, fr. Gr. , adj., observing hours or times, esp. observing the hour of birth, n., a horoscope; hour + to view, observe. See Hour, and -scope.]

1. Astrol. (a)

The representation made of the aspect of the heavens at the moment of a person's birth, by which the astrologer professed to foretell the events of the person's life; especially, the sign of the zodiac rising above the horizon at such a moment.

(b)

The diagram or scheme of twelve houses or signs of the zodiac, into which the whole circuit of the heavens was divided for the purposes of such prediction of fortune.

2.

The planisphere invented by Jean Paduanus.

3.

A table showing the length of the days and nights at all places.

Heyse.

 

© Webster 1913.

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