Is There Any Truth to Astrology?

If you’ve ever thought, “She’s acting like a lunatic!” you may be onto something. Take a closer look at that word-it derives from “luna,” which is Latin for “the moon.” And for centuries, people have linked the moon’s phases and the positions of the sun and stars with crazy behaviors or events. But is there any truth to these superstitions that we hear about in horoscopes?

The Moon and Insomnia

Before the advent of modern gas and electric lighting (about 200 years ago), the full moon was bright enough to allow people to meet up and work outside after dark-things they couldn’t have done on darker nights, shows a UCLA study. That late-night activity would have disrupted people’s sleep cycles, leading to insomnia. And lots of research has shown insomnia can trigger higher rates of manic behavior or seizures among people suffering from bipolar disorder or epilepsy, explains Charles Raison, M.D., coauthor of the study.

The Sun and Stars

Research has linked the presence or absence of sunlight in your life to all kinds of significant behavioral factors-but not in the way your psychic tells you. For one, sunlight helps your body produce vitamin D, which research from the Boston University Medical Center shows can lower rates of depression. Rays also helps regulate your hunger and sleep cycles, finds a study from Northwestern. And that’s just the tip of the sunlight-mood-behavior iceberg.

But when it comes to the position or alignment of various astral or planetary bodies, the scientific evidence resembles a black hole. One study in the journal Nature (from 1985) found no links between birth signs and character traits. Other older studies turned up similar non-connections. In fact, you have to go back several decades to even find researchers who have looked into the subject of astrology long enough to write a paper debunking it. “There’s no scientific evidence-zero-that planets or stars affect human behavior,” Raison assures. Most astrological charts or calendars are premised on an old, faulty world views.

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The Power of Belief

But if you’re a believer, you could see some ripple effects. One study from Ohio University found that people who believed in horoscopes or other aspects of astrology were significantly more likely than skeptics to agree with descriptive statements about themselves attributed to astrology (even though the researchers had made the statements up).

“In science, we call this placebo effect,” says Raison. Just as swallowing something your doctor tells you is a pain pill can help you feel better (even if it’s just a sugar pill), believing in astrology could affect your outlook and actions, he says. “We look for things or signs that confirm what we already believe. And people who deeply believe in astrology will over-recognize things that confirm their belief.”

There’s not any harm in that, at least if your interest is casual, Raison adds. “It’s like reading fortune cookies. The vast number of people who do it aren’t going to make a real or serious decision based on their horoscope.” But if you’re relying on astrology to help you choose your next job (or boyfriend), you might as well be flipping a coin, he says.

  • By Markham Heid

‘Are Horoscopes Real?’: All Your Astrology Questions, Answered


On April 3, 2019

In Astrology, Horoscope, Spirit

Some of us giggle over our daily horoscopes on the way to work, while others continuously read them just to see if they “come true.” And then there are those who get a full natal chart reading and faithfully check their horoscopes on the daily. Based on this, they might also check compatibility reports for potential friends and lovers, and even plan major life events according to how the planets are aligned.

Whatever type of horoscope-checker you are, you’ve probably wondered how exactly a horoscope is even made and whether there’s any truth to it. Well sit tight, because we’re about to answer all your questions.

Read This Now: Calculate Your Birth Chart

What’s the History Behind Horoscopes?

The word “horoscope” comes from the Greek word “horoskopos,” which literally means “a look at the hours.” Early astrologers in ancient Babylonia based their predictions on the movement of the planets, which at that time were thought to represent the activity of their five gods—Marduk representing Jupiter, Ishtar representing Venus, Ninurta representing Saturn, Nabu representing Mercury, and Nergel representing Mars—in combination with the Moon-god Sin and the Sun-god Shamash, whose movements were believed to affect what was happening on Earth.

Are the Predictions in Horoscopes Real?

As knowledge of astronomy and the world has evolved, the art of astrology has evolved as well; these days, the charting of planets is very thorough if done by any professional astrologer. Because of that, using astrology to interpret potential life events is very real indeed.

How Do Astrologers Find Your Moon Sign, Rising Sign, and More?

Surely you know your sun sign (hint: it’s the typical answer to that “What’s your sign?” question.) But to learn about your other signs (and yes, you have more), astrologers will need to know more than just your birthday.

To write the most in-depth horoscope possible, astrologers require the date, time, and location of your birth. When we have this information, we are able to place your sun sign on the first house of an astrological chart, then follow the signs in order for each house thereafter, thereby determining what types of issues may affect you at any given time. By looking at the position of the planets, we can study your chart’s aspects and determine whether or not you will have a challenging day, month, year, or if the aspects are lining up in your favor.

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What Are Planetary Aspects?

The detailed theory of planetary aspects is quite complex, but in a nutshell, when there is a connection formed between planets that are associated by some degree in the zodiac, they are referred to as “aspects.”

When the planets occupy the same degree of different signs in a chart, they have a connection that is referred to as either harmonious or challenging, depending on the signs involved or the number of degrees separating the planets.

The major aspects commonly referred to are the “conjunction,” which is zero degrees and is considered the strongest blend of two energies; the “opposition,” which is 180 degrees and considered a very challenging aspect; the “square,” which is 90 degrees and largely represents conflicting energies; and the “trine,” which is 120 degrees and considered to be an easy and beneficial connection.

Do Planetary Aspects Affect Signs the Same Way?

Courtesy of @emoji_of_a_wave

When it comes to astrology, nothing affects any two individual people in the exact same way. The planetary aspects have different effects in general, and as we apply these to peoples’ sun signs, the aspects affect each sign differently.

For example, in the Sun square Mars aspect, Mars is the planet of drive and determination, and the square aspect denotes difficulty in this area, so in general, people with this aspect in their chart may have problems with others getting in their way, so the lesson in their life may be to face challenges head-on and be willing to jump hurdles to get what they want.

So, does this aspect affect a naturally headstrong Aries differently than a more introverted, sensitive Cancer? Absolutely! We can see a lot less frustration ahead for the Ram than for the Crab, as overcoming obstacles comes much more naturally to an Aries than it does a Cancer.

Read This Now: The Best Sex Positions For Every Sign

Okay, But Sometimes My Horoscopes Don’t Come True—What Gives?

Horoscopes are great tools to use as general guidelines for living, not predictions to be followed to a T. In order to write the most detailed and in-depth horoscope possible, an astrologer needs to have a person’s birth date, time, and location. Because it isn’t possible to have all of that information for every person, most horoscopes are written with a more general audience in mind. Most daily horoscopes are written by using sun signs based on the position and effect of the Moon.

The Moon changes signs every two to three days, which in turn affects our moods and emotions, so daily horoscopes are written based on where the Moon is, and how that will generally affect each sun sign on that day. Monthly horoscopes can add sun signs crossed-referenced with planets that change every month or the course of several months, namely Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Sun. Yearly horoscopes include slower moving planets such as Saturn and Jupiter, and longer-term horoscopes are based on the movements of Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus, which can take many years to move through one sign.

How Can I Use My Horoscopes in My Life?

When you have a decision to make, do you only listen to one person, or consult one source? Probably not.

By reading your horoscope, whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, you can get a glimpse into what your world will be like from a planetary perspective, and you can use this information as a tool to help guide and motivate you.

Horoscopes can help you open up your mind to new possibilities, as well as options that you may not have considered, and as long as you approach reading your horoscope with an open mind, you can let the planets be your guide to all that is possible.

Lead photo courtesy of Giphy

Is there any truth in horoscopes?

Not even a little tiny bit. Astrology is 100% bullshit. And that’s ALL astrology, there are dozens of different kinds, each with its own contradicting sets of rules.

As far as horoscopes go, they use vague, generalized statements that apply to just about everybody. So no matter what your sign is, most of the the stuff you read will seem to be written specifically for you (and you’ll just forget the parts that don’t apply to you). Do this: have somebody cut the zodiac signs off a bunch of horoscope stuff, then read through them and see if you can identify which one is “your sign.” Spoiler alert: you can’t. All of them will contain stuff that sounds familiar, all of them will contain stuff that’s not quite right.

“Real” horoscopes, ones written by an astrologer for a specific person, are already bullshit, but newspaper horoscopes aren’t even up to THAT level, some bored intern just cranks out a truckload of standard feel-good aphorisms at random.

James Randi, the famous paranormal debunker, used to do a cool demonstration with school classes. The students were told that a famous astrologer was going to come and do their horoscopes for them, so they were asked to write down all the specific details about their birth they could: date, time, place, etc. It was emphasized that they needed to be as precise as possible (which is what we call “selling the con”).

So a few days later, Randi “the astrologer” shows up, and hands out the “personalized horoscopes.” The students read them, and then are asked to rate them for accuracy. Overwhelmingly, the horoscopes are rated as exceptionally accurate, dead-bang on. Then Randi tells everybody to swap horoscopes with the person next to them.

Yup: every single horoscope was identical.

Truth behind astrology, science or a myth?3 min read

A lot of people have the doubt and mystification regarding the truth behind astrology. Some people argue that astrology is science but other opposes it completely and says that it’s just a myth. Hence, the debate over astrology is intense and many are making all the efforts to find out whether its fact or fiction or science or a myth. Astrological structures were grown up in parallel in every culture around the world and it was distinctive to its society. In the present day, a lot of people depend on astrology in order to know about their future, business success, to know about their marriage, jobs and so on.
What is Astrology?
In general terms, Astrology is a set of structures, customs, and beliefs. Astrology holds the notion that the relative positions of celestial bodies and connected information can give details about personality, human matters, and other earthly affairs. The center beliefs of astrology were widespread in the ancient world. Today, people have become more practical in their life and can be changes in their beliefs towards astrology. However, a good number of people used to follow astrology even in the modern era. Astrology is considered as a myth rather than science and the main reason is that there is no fact in astrology.
Astrology as a Custom
For a lot of people in the world astrology is a custom. People generally take a glance at their horoscope in the newspaper or internet every day. It has become a custom for the people to know what is going to happen today in their life. So, it happens out of curiosity. Obviously, millions of people survive with astrology in their lives and therefore, it’s a livelihood for many. It is a custom amid people in the world to understand about their specialty of the birth and the time of death. So, they depend on astrology and it happens because they have seen others doing it or out of their curiosity. Therefore, one cannot completely say that astrology is a science but it’s a myth.
Inherent Desire
Observably, the fundamental desire for astrology originates from the inherent desire of humans to know about their future. The best parts of people are curious to know how they do in their future, and is there anything that they can carry out to stop the happenings of misfortune in their life. Our inherent desire to know about our future and at times our past, we are tempted to effortlessly rely on whatever thing including astrology, palmistry, face reading, or parrots choosing from a bunch of cards.
Astrology is more of an assumption than a science. There is no observable fact in astrology and usually, Astrologer’s offers humans only assumptions about their future and past. Traditionally, Astrology has been discarded by the scientific group since they could not find any illustrative power for depicting the universe. Scientific testing of astrology hasn’t found any proof or facts that back up the principles or claimed results told in astrological practices. Hence, astrology has no scientific validity as it failed to demonstrate its effectiveness in the universe.
Astrology is an amusement than science. Many of us believe that Astrology can assist to guide us to a better and secured future. It can never happen because every individual is unique in his own terms and he can attain success in his life based on his ability and knowledge. The success of astrology comes from humans’ beliefs in stars, planets and magic gemstones or rituals. Today, the majority of people in some of the countries around the globe matches horoscopes with their future bride or groom to detect how the marriage will work out. It is just a superstition and without proper knowledge in science and thinking practically, people may happen to be a prey of astrology.

Where Do Zodiac Signs Come From? Here’s the True History Behind Your Horoscope

As the summer officially begins, with the Summer Solstice occurring in the Northern Hemisphere on Thursday, those who enjoy Western astrology will be checking out their Summer Solstice horoscopes to try to use the stars to figure out what the season might have in store.

While some horoscopes sites may promise predictions based on the “movement” of the stars, it’s important to remember that it’s the Earth that’s moving, not the stars. The reason why stars look like they’re moving, both throughout the night and over the course of the year, is because the Earth rotates on its axis and orbits around the Sun. But, before most humans knew that, they spent a lot of time thinking about what was happening up there in the sky.

So, though astrology — looking for answers, signs and predictions in the movements of the celestial bodies —isn’t itself a science, there’s a long history of humans looking up at the stars to plan their lives. Farmers used the skies as a calendar as long ago as Ancient Egyptians, when the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, around mid-July, was seen as a marker of the imminent annual flooding of the Nile. Travelers used the skies as a compass, following the stars to know where to go. And many people used the skies as a source of mystical direction, too.

But who first looked up at the sky to make sense of what was happening down on the ground and why their fellow humans were behaving in certain ways? Exactly who came up with this way of thinking and when is unclear, but historians and astronomers do know a bit about how it got so popular today.

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Where did zodiac signs come from?

The stars are just one of the many things in the natural world that human beings have turned to for answers over the years.

“We don’t really know who first came up with the idea for looking at things in nature and divining influences on humans,” says astronomer Sten Odenwald, the director of Citizen Science at the NASA Space Science Education Consortium. “There’s some indication that cave art shows this idea that animals and things can be imbued with some kind of spirit form that then has an influence on you, and if you appease that spirit form, then you will have a successful hunt. That was taken over by the idea of divination, where you can actually look at things in nature and study them carefully, such as tea-leaf reading.”

Some form of astrology shows up in various belief systems in ancient cultures.

In Ancient China, noblemen looked at eclipses or sunspots as portents of good or bad times for their emperor, though it’s thought that those signs had less application to the lives of other individuals. (Odenwald points out that in societies where people in the lower classes had less control over their lives, divination could seem pointless.) The Sumarians and Babylonians, by around the middle of the second millennium BC, appeared to have had many divination practices — they looked at spots on the liver and the entrails of animals, for example — and their idea that watching planets and stars was a way to keep track of where gods were in the sky can be traced to The Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa. This tablet, which is dated to the first millennium BC and tracks the motion of Venus, is one of the earliest pieces of what’s been called Babylonian planetary omens. The ancient Egyptians contributed the idea that patterns of stars made up constellations, through which the sun appears to “move” at a specific times during the year.

It’s thought that all of these ideas came together when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt around 330 BC.

“There must have been a lot of exchange that got the Greeks on-board with the idea of divination using planets,” says Odenwald, and because they were deep into mathematics and logic, they worked out a lot of the rules for how this could work.”

Here’s how NASA has described how that logic led to the creation of the familiar zodiac signs known today:

Imagine a straight line drawn from Earth through the Sun and out into space way beyond our solar system where the stars are. Then, picture Earth following its orbit around the Sun. This imaginary line would rotate, pointing to different stars throughout one complete trip around the Sun — or, one year. All the stars that lie close to the imaginary flat disk swept out by this imaginary line are said to be in the zodiac. The constellations in the zodiac are simply the constellations that this imaginary straight line points to in its year-long journey.

What are the 12 signs of the zodiac?


The Babylonians had already divided the zodiac into 12 equal signs by 1500 BC — boasting similar constellation names to the ones familiar today, such as The Great Twins, The Lion, The Scales — and these were later incorporated into Greek divination. The astronomer Ptolemy, author of the Tetrabiblos, which became a core book in the history of Western astrology, helped popularize these 12 signs.

“This whole idea that there were 12 signs along the zodiac that were 30° wide, and the sun moved through these signs regularly during the year, that was codified by Ptolemy,” says Odenwald. Even the word “zodiac” comes from the Greek, from a term for “sculpted animal figure,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and the order in which the signs are usually listed comes from that period too.

“Back at the time of the Greeks,” Odenwald explains, “the first day of spring started when the sun appeared in the constellation Aries and then everything was marked from that time forward around the circuit of the year.”

However, the Earth has moved on its axis since then, a process known as precession, so now the dates that are used to mark the signs don’t really correspond to the background constellations that give them their signs names. In fact, the chronology has really shifted one sign to the West. That means zodiac sign dates, based on the mathematical division of the year, basically correspond today to the presence of the sun in the constellations of the signs that come before them. (The set nature of the signs is also why the Minnesota Planetarium Society’s 2011 argument that there should be a 13th zodiac sign now, Ophiuchus, didn’t actually result in a big astrology change.)

“Before, astrologers looked at where the sun was relative to background constellations in general, and that generally matched up almost exactly with the signs of zodiac defined by Ptolemy,” says Odenwald. “Now astrologers do their calculations and forecasting based on where the planets and the sun are relative to the 12 signs —which are fixed — and not based on where they are relative to the constellations. Astrologers say if the sun is in the sign of Sagittarius on the day you were born, then you’re a Sagittarius.”

Read More: Mercury Is Entering Retrograde Again. This Is Why So Many People Care

What’s the difference between astrology and astronomy?

For centuries, astrology (looking for signs based on the movement of the celestial bodies) was considered basically the same thing as astronomy (the scientific study of those objects). For example, revolutionary 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, who studied the motion of the planets, was at the time considered an astrologer. That changed around the beginning of the Enlightenment in the late 17th century.

Once Sir Isaac Newton basically turned the sky into a calculator, mathematizing the motion of the planets and realizing that gravity controlled everything, Odenwald says, “that started a whole new scientific approach to looking at the sky and the motion of planets and the earth.”

That’s the point at which astronomy came to be known as a science and astrology was acknowledged as not a science. But its popularity relies on factors that numbers can’t compute, and the appeal of looking to the stars for answers has not waned — in fact, in recent years, it seems to have expanded. After all, a 2014 National Science Foundation poll found more than half of millennials think astrology is a science.

And Odenwald argues that, even if astrology’s answers aren’t based on scientific study, the reason people keep turning to the sky does come down to something very real — a psychological phenomenon he calls the human tendency for “self-selection,” the search for interpretations that match what we already hope to be true.

“People magnify the positives, they forget the negatives,” he says, “and that’s just how we’re designed.”

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at [email protected]

Astrology is one of the most ancient sciences, held in high esteem of old, by the wise and the great. Formerly, no prince would make war or peace, nor any general fight in battle, in short, no important affair was undertaken without first consulting an astrologer.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Ever so often Astrology is presented with an opportunity to explain herself and thus improve on her wisdom and service to humankind. Such occasions, alas, usually happen when her system of symbolism is under attack, usually from people who have no knowledge of Astrology and who base their dismissive notions on popular culture and misunderstandings instead of serious consideration.

In the last few days, I received many alarmed emails asking me about the recent internet craze concerning the shattering “new discoveries” that the signs have shifted due to a “wobble” in the Earth’s axis and that there is a new 13th sign called Ophiuchus.

Let me address some of these concerns and assure you that whatever your sign was before 2011 is still the same and if you thought you could get an upgrade to a “nicer” sign, you are out of luck 🙁

1 – Astrology is based on the seasons and the relationships between the planets (called aspects) and NOT what sign is located behind the Sun when you were born.

The signs of the Zodiac are merely symbols and metaphors that divide the year into 12 different and equal “seasons”. This partition is based on the proportions of day and night or light and darkness experienced throughout the year. Aries always begins on the first day of spring (aka the Spring Equinox), when the day and night are equal and the amount of light is growing. Libra, on the other hand, always begins on the Fall Equinox, when the day and night are also equal, but the amount of light is receding. Astrology postulates, regardless of what constellation occupies the Equinox, that people born in the spring will exhibit characteristics such as high energy and optimism. They will be the kind of people who spring into action, the same way that nature buds into life after its long winter slumber.

A new study, published by the Nature Neuroscience Journal, found links between the season of birth and personality. It is proven that people born in the winter, i.e. Capricorns, are more at risk to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), schizophrenia and depression. In Astrology, Capricorn, beginning on the longest night of the year, is associated with suffering, difficulties and pessimism. To quote the author of the paper, Professor Douglas McMahon, “Our biological clocks measure the day’s length and change our behavior according to the seasons.”

2 – When Astrology was developed by the Babylonians, the constellation of Aries happened to be located right behind the sign Aries during the Spring Equinox.

Astrology was developed in Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, as a cosmic clock, most likely to help early farmers trace the seasons. In fact, the reason why we have seasons to begin with is because of the Earth’s 23 degree tilt, which is also connected to its wobble. The idea is simple: one should plant in Spring, party in Summer, harvest in Fall, and be careful with provisions in Winter.

The first zodiac sign, Aries, begins on March 21st, the Spring Equinox. Of course there is no real Ram out there in the skies. The ancient wise women and men of the time chose a Ram to symbolize Aries because it is a great metaphor for the initiation of spring, the leader of the flock. When the refuters of Astrology claim that people born in Aries should be called Pisces, they are misunderstanding the symbolism of Astrology. It’s like saying New York City should be called “York” because by now it is hundreds of years old. However, when it was founded it was new, and it symbolized a modern place full of possibilities. Aries was located behind the Equinox, on March 21st 2000-4000 years ago, when Astrology was “founded”. That is why we still call this period of time Aries.

3 – Astrologers and Astronomers have known about the issues presented in the “Astrology refuting hoax” for thousands of years and CHOSE NOT to include a 13th constellation.

There is nothing new about the 13th constellation or the shift in the signs. The ancient Greeks, who were the first to cast astrological “Natal Charts,” were quite aware of these two issues. In fact, Claudius Ptolemy wrote extensively about the 13th sign and the procession of the equinox in the 2nd century AD. As you can see, there is nothing new under the Sun.

Ophiuchus, the so called 13th sign, was not adopted into Astrology because the Sun barely touches the constellation during its path through the Zodiac. It also doesn’t fit into the Babylonians’ sexagesimal system that is based on 60 and 12. That is why we have 60 minutes in an hour and two sets of 12 hours in a day. That is also the reason behind the decision to have 12 signs in the Zodiac and not 13.

With all due respect, most of the people who rebuke Astrology have little knowledge about the ancient art. Intellectual giants the like of Johannes Kepler (considered by many the father of modern astronomy), Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Carl Jung, Benjamin Franklin and Sir Isaac Newton all knew about these two anomalies in Astrology. However, they continued to practice, study and develop astrological theories that resulted in amazing predictions and insights. (See link below)

Astrologers for centuries have incorporated the earth wobble in their understanding of the connection between the heavenly bodies and life on earth. Ever heard about “The Age of Aquarius?” The reason why we have these ages and why they move backward (Age of Aquarius follows the Age of Pisces) is because of the wobble of the earth. So to claim astrologers had not known about this phenomenon or chose to ignore it is simply ridiculous.

4 – Astrology is a system of symbols and metaphors designed to help us connect to the universe, just like the words and metaphors found in the various spiritual texts from around the world.

Many people claim that Astrology has no scientific backing and therefore cannot provide “real” help to humanity. I was stunned to see that this assertion regarding Astrology, came from the Christian Science Monitor, a news organization owned by a church.

But wait, there is no scientific proof of the resurrection of Christ, and yet the teaching of Jesus can still inspire love and compassion. There is no archeological proof of the Exodus and yet millions live and die by the teaching of Moses. There is no evidence to support Muhammad’s nightly flight on a winged horse from Mecca to Jerusalem. However, the holiest shrine for Islam, the Dome of the Rock, was built to commemorate that event on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Help and healing can be provided by systems that have no scientific proof, and have been for hundreds of years. I am not saying that these events did not happen. I am just noting that there is NO scientific proof that they did. However, the power of these systems of belief is undeniable.

Handled in the right way, Astrology can help guide us to a better future. Over the last 15 years I have personally experienced Astrology prove herself again and again in remarkable ways with clients of all ages, races, nationalities, and genders. I can only hope that she will do for you, what she has done for me and thousands of my clients.

Obviously Astrology has much to offer psychology, but what the latter can offer its elder sister is less evident.”
—C.G Jung

Gahl E. Sasson – teaches Astrology, Mythology and Kabbalah worldwide. His books A Wish Can Change Your Life (endorsed by HH the 14th Dalai Lama) and Cosmic Navigator, have been translated worldwide.

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Strengths: Progressive, original, independent, humanitarian

Weaknesses: Runs from emotional expression, temperamental, uncompromising, aloof

Aquarius likes: Fun with friends, helping others, fighting for causes, intellectual conversation, a good listener

Aquarius dislikes: Limitations, broken promises, being lonely, dull or boring situations, people who disagree with them.

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Strengths: Compassionate, artistic, intuitive, gentle, wise, musical

Weaknesses: Fearful, overly trusting, sad, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr

Pisces likes: Being alone, sleeping, music, romance, visual media, swimming, spiritual themes

Pisces dislikes: Know-it-all, being criticized, the past coming back to haunt, cruelty of any kind

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Strengths: Courageous, determined, confident, enthusiastic, optimistic, honest, passionate

Weaknesses: Impatient, moody, short-tempered, impulsive, aggressive

Aries likes: Comfortable clothes, taking on leadership roles, physical challenges, individual sports

Aries dislikes: Inactivity, delays, work that does not use one’s talents

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Strengths: Reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable

Weaknesses: Stubborn, possessive, uncompromising

Taurus likes: Gardening, cooking, music, romance, high quality clothes, working with hands

Taurus dislikes: Sudden changes, complications, insecurity of any kind, synthetic fabrics

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Strengths: Gentle, affectionate, curious, adaptable, ability to learn quickly and exchange ideas

Weaknesses: Nervous, inconsistent, indecisive

Gemini likes: Music, books, magazines, chats with nearly anyone, short trips around the town

Gemini dislikes: Being alone, being confined, repetition and routine

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Strengths: Tenacious, highly imaginative, loyal, emotional, sympathetic, persuasive

Weaknesses: Moody, pessimistic, suspicious, manipulative, insecure

Cancer likes: Art, home-based hobbies, relaxing near or in water, helping loved ones, a good meal with friends

Cancer dislikes: Strangers, any criticism of Mom, revealing of personal life

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Strengths: Creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful, humorous

Weaknesses: Arrogant, stubborn, self-centered, lazy, inflexible

Leo likes: Theater, taking holidays, being admired, expensive things, bright colors, fun with friends

Leo dislikes: Being ignored, facing difficult reality, not being treated like a king or queen

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Strengths: Loyal, analytical, kind, hardworking, practical

Weaknesses: Shyness, worry, overly critical of self and others, all work and no play

Virgo likes: Animals, healthy food, books, nature, cleanliness

Virgo dislikes: Rudeness, asking for help, taking center stage

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Strengths: Cooperative,diplomatic, gracious, fair-minded, social

Weaknesses: Indecisive, avoids confrontations, will carry a grudge, self-pity

Libra likes: Harmony, gentleness, sharing with others, the outdoors

Libra dislikes: Violence, injustice, loudmouths, conformity

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Strengths: Resourceful, brave, passionate, stubborn, a true friend

Weaknesses: Distrusting, jealous, secretive, violent

Scorpio likes: Truth, facts, being right, longtime friends, teasing, a grand passion

Scorpio dislikes: Dishonesty, revealing secrets, passive people

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Strengths: Generous, idealistic, great sense of humor

Weaknesses: Promises more than can deliver, very impatient, will say anything no matter how undiplomatic

Sagittarius likes: Freedom, travel, philosophy, being outdoors

Sagittarius dislikes: Clingy people, being constrained, off-the-wall theories, details

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Strengths: Responsible, disciplined, self-control, good managers

Weaknesses: Know-it-all, unforgiving, condescending, expecting the worst

Capricorn likes: Family, tradition, music, understated status, quality craftsmanship

Capricorn dislikes: Almost everything at some point

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It’s time to speculate about what 2018 will bring. Condemned by science and denigrated by much of society, you might think that astrological predictions are fluffy woo-woo that won’t help you navigate the year ahead. But that’s not because astrology itself is inaccurate. It’s because astrology has been ruined by modern psychology.

Astrology’s contemporary flavor has a closer relationship with the social science of psychology than the observational science it used to be based upon. If we can set modern judgments aside and learn the language of the ancient astrologers—a language that is now newly available due to the recent revival of classical texts—we may discover lost insights.

Looking to the stars

The ancients looked to the sky for clues about why things happened in the material world around them. Astrology had its heyday in the Mediterranean in the Hellenistic period, an era that took place between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century CE. These ancient astrologers based their interpretations on centuries of observations recorded by the Mesopotamians who came before them. They kept careful records of astronomical phenomenon, looking for correlations between what happened in the sky above them and the material world around them.

Today, modern psychology has cast astrology as a fantastical way that people of the past project the workings of their minds onto the environment around them. This interpretation leaves far too much wiggle room for astrology to simply sound like affirmations of what people want to hear about themselves and think about the world. Even worse, the nurturing approach psychologists take has polluted modern astrology with watered-down interpretations that seek to protect their clients. Even if an astrological configuration spells trouble, the modern astrologer will describe it as an “opportunity for growth,” as if they were a patronizing middle-manager. Where is the trust in that?

When we had more time to look at the sky, what knowledge was possible to unfurl that’s hard to access now?

With the feel-good, pop-psychology variety of astrology growing like fungal spores throughout the millennial covens of the internet, both believers and skeptics are cause for concern. The New York Times recently claimed that the “astrology boomlet owes as much to the dynamics of the modern internet as it does to any sort of cosmic significance about the millennial’s place in the universe.” But dismissing all of astrology outright undermines the insights that ancient practitioners may have had—insights that are impossible to access from our concrete jungles, perpetual digital connectivity, and space exploration. When we had more time to look at the sky, what knowledge was possible to unfurl that’s hard to access now?

For over 16 centuries, we haven’t really known what ancient astrologers wanted us to practice. But in the past 20 years, traditional astrological texts have been translated into modern languages for the first time. These texts come from the same scientists who produced the first analog computer and principles of geometry that we still use today. Modern astrology may be overrun with mushy hocus-pocus thanks to conflations with psychology, but newly accessible ancient astrological methods could produce a revival in the power and credibility of the craft.

Horoscopes, star signs, and other inventions

Don’t relate to your sign? That might be because sun-signs astrology is a recent creation designed to appeal to mass audiences.

Pop astrology was born in the late 19th century during the boom in new-age exploration, and was then fueled by developments in psychology in the 20th century. The notion that your sun sign indicates your character was popularized by esotericist Alan Leo in England in the 1890s. He was part of a group called the Theosophical Society that scoured spiritual traditions of all sorts looking for wisdom that would help society get to the next stage of development. They called this era the ‘New Age’. Leo justified his simplification of astrology as serving humanity’s spiritual betterment. His writing garnered enough of an audience to provoke several legal battles in the 1910s for unlawfully practicing fortunetelling.

The sun-sign approach to astrology continued to grow in popularity through newspaper columns in the first half of the 20th century and boomed when New Age went mainstream in the 1960s. Historian Nick Campion notes that “sun-sign astrology domesticated the universe” at a time when astronomy discovered that our galaxy was one small dot among billions in a perpetually expanding universe. When modern science was making humanity look smaller and more insignificant than ever, people found it reassuring to think of their personalities as being reflected in the stars.

Carl Jung placed astrology on par with mythology in explaining the workings of the human psyche.

And it wasn’t just the pre-hippy folk: During this time, Carl Jung also began exploring astrology. Jung, who created the psychological categories of introversion and extroversion and formed the basis for the popular Myers-Briggs personality test, placed astrology on par with mythology in explaining the workings of the human psyche. He regularly referenced astrology in his books published from the 1920s through the 1970s, offering a legitimate point of reference for astrology to those who wouldn’t touch the theosophical new-age mania with a 10-foot pole.

Modern astrologers today still reference Jung’s interest in astrology as a sign of its legitimacy, even though Jung himself said that there was no causal relationship between what happened in the stars and what happened on earth. As far as he was concerned, it was all just in our minds. In the hands of the new-age movement, Jung’s prognosis reduced astrology into hokey pop psychology, fun to consume but about as substantive as sugary breakfast cereal.

Out with the old

People who claim that astrology (as practiced in its current form) is based on thousands of years of tradition are wrong. Until recently, explorers of modern astrology didn’t even have proper access to the classical astrological texts on which their predictions were based off.

Originally, astrology flourished in the Hellenistic period alongside various sciences like mathematics, medicine, and engineering. When the Roman empire fell in the 5th century, Hellenistic texts of all kinds were scattered and fragmented over the millennium as their standing with Christian and secular European society fell in and out of favor. Ancient astrology looked to be delegated to dusty Greek attics.

In the late 19th century, a group of German linguists stumbled upon previously unpublished fragments of Hellenistic astrological texts. The discovery set in motion a 50-year task of collecting as many of the overlooked texts as they could find in libraries across Europe. The fragments filled 12 volumes, but they didn’t bother to translate any of it from the original Greek. In the early 1990s, a group of astrologers decided to translate this and other classical works in the hopes that they would recover something worthwhile. They called the effort Project Hindsight and styled themselves after Renaissance intellectuals reviving the lost art of ancient algebra. In an interview on The Astrology Podcast, Robert Hand, a respected figure in modern astrology who played a central role in Project Hindsight said, “as far as I’m concerned, the modern system is bullshit.” Once he could finally get up close and personal with the ancient texts, Hand scrapped the beliefs he held for decades about how to do astrology.

After a decade and a half of translation work, Project Hindsight claims to have revived the old astrological methods. And the results are complicating astrology’s modern love affair with psychology. No longer a folksy way to look at our individual personality and character, astrology as we know it is getting pushed aside and being replaced by older techniques of looking at why real-world events happen.

In with the new

Traditional Hellenistic astrology brings a rigor and harmony to astrology that modern methods washed over. The modern system flattened the houses, which describe worldly matters like money, love, and career, into the zodiac signs of the star constellations. (The ancient texts never conflated the two.) Prying these important pieces of astrology back apart clarifies how the ancients related movements of the heavens with events on earth. Compare this to new-age psychological astrology, which over accentuates internal matters of the mind and spirit, opening up far too much room for confirmation bias. Modern astrology also hastily assigned outsized influence to the newly discovered planets of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto without the centuries of observational data that the Hellenistic astrologers were working with.

New-age psychological astrology, which over accentuates internal matters of the mind and spirit, opens up far too much room for confirmation bias.

One of the greatest sticking points where traditional and modern astrology diverge is destiny. Hellenistic astrology describes a causal relationship between the movement of planets and stars and the material world on earth. The ancients also believed in the notion of fate. Fatedness runs counter to our modern notion of free will, and therefore many find traditional astrology unpalatable. However, we do not need to believe in a fatalistic view of planetary movements to revive some insights in the work of the ancient astrologers who espoused them.

The influence of modern psychology isn’t all bad. Astrologer Demetra George, who was an early subscriber to Project Hindsight’s translation initiative and is now a leading figure in traditional astrology, points to the modern interest in introspection and “interior life” as illuminating parts of astrology that were foggy to the ancients. Now, modern psychology can enrich those parts of the astrological tradition.

Astrologer Wonder Bright, a former student of George, thinks modern astrology’s counseling approach is also a positive contribution to the art. The client/astrologer encounter takes on overtones of a therapist/patient relationship, even when traditional astrological methods are used. “Modern counseling methods,” says Bright, “are a boon to the astrologer and probably account for the large percentage of women studying and practicing astrology nowadays, which would have been unthinkable in previous centuries.”

The feminist potential of a modern/traditional astrology mash-up helps drive the popularity of Chani Nicholas, who publishes a weekly sun-sign column on her website. Her writing carries strong feminist and social-justice overtones, hitting on the zeitgeist of the moment not unlike what Alan Leo did in his time over a century ago. Her audience is devoted and growing, with a regular readership reaching over 1 million people.

While people can now preach openly about crystals or sound-vibration healing and only get a single eye roll, those who look to astrology for answers are still in the proverbial closet. When I told people that I was preparing an article on the topic of astrology, colleagues who I assumed would have no connection to the topic at all asked with hushed excitement, “Do you read Chani, too?”

Traditional astrologers, it’s time to come out into the light.

Predicting astrology’s future

The revival of traditional astrology is still in its early days. As with most discoveries from antiquity, it takes time to integrate findings into existing knowledge. Take the Antikythera mechanism for example, the earliest known analog computer that dates from the Hellenistic period. Archeologists recovered it from an ancient shipwreck in 1902, but new insights about what the stunningly advanced device could do were still being published as recently as 2008—and that’s with full scholarly and institutional support to study it. Computers, even ancient ones, aren’t taboo like astrology is.

Astrology is a practice. It only comes alive through use. If we’re too skeptical to use it, we won’t be able to access whatever the ancients might have been on to. “We need to learn the language of the doctors of that time and be a little less dismissive so we can learn a little more from them,” says microbiologist Freya Harrison, who along with Viking historian Christina Lee recently discovered that a medieval concoction could effectively kill MRSA, an antibiotic resistant “superbug” that has killed more people annually than AIDS during major outbreaks in the US.

Traditional astrology, with its wealth of ancient texts, deserves the same respectful suspension of disbelief as other old-world scientific fields. The first step? Leaving the conceits of modern psychology behind.

It’s a great conversation starter: “What’s your sign?” But before you ask or answer that question, consider this: Your Zodiac sign corresponds to the position of the sun relative to constellations as they appeared more 2,200 years ago! The science behind astrology may have its roots in astronomy but don’t confuse these two disciplines. Astronomy can explain the position of the stars in the sky but it’s up to you to determine what, if anything, their alignment signifies. In short, as you’ll see below, your Zodiac sign is not what you think it is, and your corresponding horoscope can’t be right.

The constellations of the Zodiac

The ecliptic, or the path of the sun as it’s perceived from the revolving Earth, passes through the constellations that formed the Zodiac: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Astrologers skip a 13th constellation that also resides on the ecliptic: Ophiuchus.

Babylonian astrologers, and later the Greeks, originally determined Zodiac signs by which constellation the sun was “in” on the day you were born. Early astronomers observed the sun traveling through the signs of the Zodiac in the course of one year, spending about a month in each. Thus, they calculated that each constellation extends 30 degrees across the ecliptic.

Ancient astrologers grouped the 12 signs according to the classical elements. The elements represent certain personality traits and are used in conjunction with the star signs, as well as with the position of the sun, moon and known planets at the time, to determine a horoscope, according to

Fire — Aries, Sagittarius, Leo (spontaneous and impulsive)

Water — Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces (imaginative and emotional)

Air — Libra, Aquarius, Gemini (quick and animated, tendency to intellectualize feelings)

Earth — Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo (quiet and slow reactions, slow to change emotionally)

However, a phenomenon called precession has altered the position of the constellations we see today and has resulted in a shift of the zodiac constellations.

Precession and astrology

The first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere was once marked by the zero point of the Zodiac. Astronomers call this the vernal equinox and it occurs as the ecliptic and celestial equator intersect on approximately March 21.

Around 600 B.C., the zero point was in Aries and was called the “first point of Aries.” The constellation Aries encompassed the first 30 degrees of the ecliptic; from 30 to 60 degrees was Taurus; from 60 to 90 degrees was Gemini; and so on for all 12 constellations of the Zodiac.

Unbeknownst to the ancient astrologers, Earth continually wobbles around its axis in a 25,800-year cycle. This wobble — called precession — is caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon on Earth’s equatorial bulge.

Over the past two-and-a-half millennia, this wobble has caused the intersection point between the celestial equator and the ecliptic to move west along the ecliptic by 36 degrees, or almost exactly one-tenth of the way around, to the border of Pisces and Aquarius. This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth — or almost one whole month — of the way around the sky to the west, relative to the stars beyond.

For instance, those born between March 21 and April 19 consider themselves to be Aries. Today, the sun is no longer within the constellation of Aries during much of that period. From March 11 to April 18, the sun is actually in the constellation of Pisces!

Your ‘real sign’

The table below lists the dates when the sun is actually within the astronomical constellations of the Zodiac, according to modern constellation boundaries and corrected for precession (these dates can vary a day from year to year).

You will most likely find that once precession is taken into account, your Zodiac sign is different. And if you were born between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, your sign is actually one you never saw in the newspaper: you are an Ophiuchus! The ecliptic passes through the constellation of Ophiuchus after Scorpius.

Check out your “real” zodiac sign, based on the sun’s current path, and compare it to the date still used by astrologers (in parentheses):

Additional reporting by Rachel Ross, Live Science Contributor

Additional resources

  • is a compendium of information about astrology and horoscopes
  • The BBC answers the question: “Which stars were you really born under?”
  • Understanding Science, a website developed by the University of California Museum of Paleontology, asks the question: “Astrology: Is it scientific?”

By Professor Christopher French, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London

Tuesday 27 Aug 2019 8:30 am

Astrology has not been proven to work – so why do so many people believe that it really does?

There are many psychological factors that play a role in explaining such belief. These include our desire to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves, our urge to gain a sense of control in an unpredictable world, and our tendency to take note of evidence that apparently supports our beliefs – but to ignore any evidence that contradicts them.

I can’t help thinking of my favourite Punch cartoon: a man is staring at the TV while the newscaster makes the following announcement: ‘The practice of astrology took a major step toward achieving credibility today when, as predicted, everyone born under the sign of Scorpio was run over by an egg truck.’

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The joke works because everyone knows that horoscopes in newspapers and magazines never predict anything very specific. Instead, they rely upon vague generalisations that stand a pretty good chance of coming true in some way or other in most people’s varied days: ‘You will receive an unexpected piece of good news.’

This is one example of what psychologists call the Barnum effect, which refers to people’s propensity to find personal meaning in general statements.

People often accept vague, general and ambiguous statements as applying uniquely to them even though, in fact, they apply to most of the population.

If you read that, ‘You have a lot of unused potential that you have not used to your advantage’, do try to bear in mind that everyone feels that this is true for them.

I am sure that many believers in astrology will now have steam coming out of their ears as they angrily proclaim that, ‘of course sun sign astrology is nonsense! You need to have a full horoscope cast and then a one-to-one with a professional astrologer to fully appreciate the power of astrology!’

I know from experience that even the professional astrologers who write the sun sign columns (and happily accept payment for doing so) hold such views.

Sadly, the truth is that horoscopes cast on the basis of specific birth details, taking into account the position of all the planets, the sun and the moon, have exactly the same validity as sun sign horoscopes: that is, none at all.

I’d recommend putting the horoscope charts in a cupboard and relying on reason and evidence (Picture: MARK Garlick/Science Photo Library RF/Getty Images)

Sometimes the reason for consulting astrology is simply a matter of being given permission to take a chance on a new direction in life – to end a problematic relationship or pack in a hated job.

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A theme in many readings is that, ‘Life will be tricky for a few months after taking that step but in six months’ time you will be a lot happier.’

As might be expected, astrologers are most often consulted at times of uncertainty, whether at personal or societal level.

The political and economic uncertainty caused by divisive world leaders, not to mention Brexit, is almost certainly good news for astrologers. And maybe we should not be too hard on them given that absolutely no one seems to have a clue about what the future holds at the moment.

Anything that appears to provide a glimpse of what is waiting around the next corner may give someone a better sense of control, even if that sense of control is illusory. So why do so many people believe what they are told by astrologers?

One reason is simply that it generally does make sense to believe what we are told by authority figures and experts (despite what Michael Gove may think). As children, it made sense for us to heed our parents when they said, ‘Don’t touch that, it will burn you!’ or ‘Take care when crossing roads.’ Those who believe in astrology consider their astrologer to be an expert whose pronouncements should be taken seriously.

As human beings, we are all susceptible to what psychologists refer to as ‘subjective validation’; that is, if we expect to see correspondences and connections between two complex stimuli or events we are often able to find them, even if they are not really there.

Anything that appears to provide a glimpse of what is waiting around the next corner may give someone a better sense of control, even if that sense of control is illusory.

A full horoscope chart is very complex and open to many interpretations. It is not surprising that the believer can find apparent correspondences between it and the rich tapestry of their own lives.


It appears that there is currently an increase in popularity among women in the 18-35 age bracket. Magazines and websites aimed at this demographic are embracing astrology in a way that they have not done before. Women have always been more likely to believe in astrology than men – a 2005 Gallup poll revealed 28 per cent of women believed compared to 23 per cent of men.

Women are generally encouraged to be more in tune with their intuitions and emotions than men even in the 21st century. In an era when young women are also expected to be more independent than ever before, it is perhaps not surprising that some will turn to astrology in an attempt to cope with the challenges that entails.

Astrology is a prime example of a pseudoscience but it does share one important property with genuine sciences: it often makes clear predictions that can be empirically tested. Those predictions have been thoroughly tested time and time again.

Astrologers cannot predict future events, or predict personality based on the time and place of birth, or whether couples have ‘compatible’ star signs.

So what do believers in astrology gain from their unfounded belief? Quite a lot as it happens.

They feel that they have a deep spiritual connection to the cosmos and that astrology can provide them with profound insights into their own lives and the lives of others.

If that provides them with a framework to make sense of their lives and helps them to deal with the existential angst that is inherent in the human condition, it can’t be all bad.


Yet when it comes to dealing with the really important challenges in life, whether at the personal or societal level, I’d recommend putting the horoscope charts in a cupboard and relying on reason and evidence.

A beginner’s guide to astrology

Astrology: the study of how the stars, planets and other cosmic objects move, the relationship between them and how these influence human life and the world around us.

Horoscope: an astrological chart or diagram depicting the position of the sun, moon and planets at a particular place and time.

Houses: the term used to describe the 12 divided segments of the Zodiac. Each house is ruled by a different Zodiac sign.

Moon sign: this represents your emotions and is the next most important influence in the Zodiac after your sun sign.

Natal chart: also known as a birth chart, this is a map of your life and shows who you are and who you will become, according to the universe.

Retrograde: the term used to describe when a planet looks as though it is ‘moving backwards’ in relation to the earth (from an astrological, not scientific, point of view).

Rising sign: also known as your ‘ascendent’ it is the sign that was ‘rising’ up over the horizon in the east at the time of your birth.

Sun sign: also known as your star sign or your sign of the Zodiac.

MORE: I’ve been an astrologer for decades and only been wrong once

MORE: Are star signs just self-fulling prophecies?

MORE: What does the new moon in Leo mean for your zodiac sign?

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We all have likely seen the online horoscopes that seem to be describing us as if they know us. Could it be because the stars actually have aligned and people have interpreted what that means for the other people in their birth range? Does this stuff have any merit at all? How can we be sure that it’s not just a marketing gimmick and people playing with our psyche? This Clinical Psychology Journal study I found about horoscopes says that they are indeed true because they focus their efforts of acceptance of these astrological phenomena on specificity. It uses natal astrology (the part of astrology that’s about making judgments about someone’s personality) to pinpoint generally good things that most people can apply a particular experience in their life to or fits into what they already perceive of themselves.

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For example, today’s horoscope for a Capricorn (just because my birthday is Dec. 25th) would be something along the lines of: “Many people are impressed with what you have accomplished, not only your friends and family but your bosses and supervisors as well. They are looking to see if you are ready to bump to the next level or promotion. You are confident in yourself and know that it would be well deserved of both their consideration and admiration. Once the you receive your promotion (soon), enjoy it and unwind a little. This is something you have earned and are deserving of.” This sis so basic and broad that it can apply to someone that isn’t a Capricorn; in fact, anyone with a decent work ethic and outlook on themselves/life could have this apply to them. This article takes a deeper look into the rationality behind horoscopes and their validity.

Inversely, these same horoscopes that seem to have great words of wisdom from the stars above about the alignment in your life and all these affirmation of who you are can actually be just for entertainment. The Zodiac and Entertainment gives us a glimpse into this. With all these different sources of horoscopes for daily, weekly, and monthly zodiac signs, one can only wonder if there is actually a way for all these sources to say different things on the same day (and all prove accurate). The question the arises of which source has a more accurate depiction of what the horoscope should actually be in accordance with the starts and zodiac signs.

A critique of this is that horoscopes are much too broad and vague. The horoscopes seem to operate under the premise that a vague application can then be applied to a multitude of people based on their personal conceptualizations and experiences. In order for the hypothesis that “horoscopes are true” to be true, there is a strong reliance on the dependent variable – self conceptualization. If someone doesn’t have a positive view of themselves, they are likely not to identify with horoscope. The unchanging independent variable is the horoscope itself. After digging around a little more, another student that took this class in Fall of 2013 came to similar conclusions that I did.

In conclusion, the truth behind horoscopes are dependent upon the self-conceptualization of the person reading the horoscope. The best scenario is that someone has a positive view of themselves and the world for the horoscope to likely apply to them. They also need to have lived experiences that relates somewhat to the broad statements within horoscopes. Some see them as valid, and others see them as just entertainment. Either way, horoscopes are given as much attention and weight as we individually choose to bestow upon them.

Any truth to astrology

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