Posted inLifestyle

Written in the stars?

Horoscopes are nothing new.

They’ve been around for centuries, and it doesn’t look as though they’re going away any time soon, since any newspaper that you pick up today will probably have a section devoted to them somewhere. Despite their apparent popularity though, they tend to provoke a mixture of reactions, ranging from those who read their stars every morning to see what lies ahead, to those who snort in derision every time they have to turn a page to get past them. What’s not immediately apparent is why – no doubt there are plenty of people who never do the crossword, but they don’t tend to complain about its presence, and although I personally heave a sigh every time I reach the sport pages, I recognise, albeit incredulously, that there are people who enjoy these stories, and so I don’t object to their inclusion.

It stems, I imagine, from the need to feel able to say something like “You don’t believe that rubbish, do you?”, so demonstrating some kind of intellectual superiority, whereas, in reality, that’s not necessarily a relevant question. Presumably one wouldn’t ask the same on encountering someone halfway through The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which this kind of questioner presumably assumes to have around the same factual content. Many people, possibly even the majority, do not read horoscopes because they particularly believe in their accuracy, or because they particularly need to be assured of what lies ahead; they read them rather out of interest, or out of a lack of other occupation, and are surprised or amused when what they read turns out to be vaguely accurate. Certainly, there are people who do believe in the accuracy of their horoscopes, and, not being privy to the nature of the universe, I am in no position to dismiss them; though it does seem somewhat unlikely that one in every twelve people undergo largely similar experiences on a daily or even weekly basis. But, then again, the newspaper horoscope is a somewhat simplified form of the ‘full’ horoscope, which accounts for far more astrological factors than the star sign, and so is most likely more individual.

Regardless, horoscopes seem only to be growing in popularity, and, in the midst of events such as those we’ve experienced over the past year, perhaps it’s not surprising. There have been times when guessing what might happen tomorrow, never mind next week or next month, has seemed next to impossible, and so the search for some kind of certainty is almost inevitable. Whether that’s the certainty that the stars will continue to move in their appointed patterns, the hope that the future can be predicted after all, or simply the certainty that no matter what happens, your horoscope will almost always be completely wrong.

My horoscope for today tells me that ‘Talk planet Mercury meets the sun to make you the zodiac’s best communicator. Inspiring and entertaining ideas flow and you find it easier to talk about them. People are ready to listen.’ Whether or not that is accurate, perhaps you had better judge.

Cover photo: NASA from Unsplash