Thursday, February 28, 2008

Astrological Thoughts

A really big turn-off for me, is astrology.
What I mean by a “turn-off” is that if I met someone and they began to speak about “their sign” or about “my sign” [and were discussing this in a serious fashion, as though it held credence with them] I would immediately have to begin supplanting a somewhat negative impression of that person.
With their every sentence from that point onward, they would be either climbing out of a sort of deficit position, or falling moreso in.
In short, if they began talking horoscope, I would be horrified.

Now... in a humorous fashion I find it entirely acceptable. Fun, even.
But I am talking about the die-hard astrologist now.
The believer. The hard-core star-reader.
One who is actually interested in the phases, who knows the predicament the moon of my planet is in!
This is the person that I cannot take too seriously. The type of person that takes the following definition of astrology seriously: “divination based on the supposed influence of the stars upon human events.” (Merriam-Webster).
I guess one could say that there are similarities between conventional religion and astrology.
Both are based on ancient philosophy that has evolved over the centuries and both posit that the force which patterns the heavens likewise orders humanity. Both are concerned with guidance from beyond.
I won’t pretend to be an expert in either of these pursuits, but I would argue that at least a person who is looking to their concept of “God” for guidance (through religion) believes that this God is a personal being, and as such, can decide to do things, to influence earthly life in the past, present, and (presumably) the future. Most concepts of God (especially in Western culture) include the idea that He/She possesses relative attributes that can be communicated to what has been created.
But astrology?
Astrology is assuming that (please correct me if I am wrong here) human life is directly influenced by the Sun, Moon, and the planets of our solar system as they journey through the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The moon!
And a flaming broiling enormous nuclear explosion, pretty much.
These three things were somehow directly aware of you at the very moment that you were born and the traits that you exhibit as you mature into adulthood are a direct result of their conspired interest in your personhood.
If this sounds crazy to you, how about the fact that every newspaper in the world has a space reserved in it, where you can go and see what the planets have in store for you on that day.
There is only one thing crazier, and that is the fact that so many people turn to this space as soon as they get the morning paper.

It probably sounds like I am being vindictive, like I have some real visceral hatred of astrology or those who consult horoscopes, but I really do not.
Nor do I think there is something inherently “evil” about it.
But I am honestly wondering if it is not something that is so hit-and-miss, so casually believed in, so fortune-cookie-ish... that if I just quit writing this blog right now I could turn my attention to tomorrow’s horoscope and just write one for the entire world.... covering all twelve signs!
Like, what I mean is.... how general are they?

So... being in a mega-bookstore (as I am right now) I went and picked a book off the shelf, completely at random. It’s called Your Personal Horoscope 2008 and it’s written by Joseph Polansky.
Again (no joke) I turn at random to page 72, in the Taurus section, and I read: “With Saturn now (from the 16th onwards) in a stressful aspect with you, health will need more attention.”
Thank you Saturn, I will steam some veggies!

So, the next page elaborates... “While there are no hard-and-fast rules about diet – everyone’s needs are different and everyone’s needs change under different conditions – if you listen to your body you’ll know what foods are good. You will see how you feel after eating certain foods. This is the best way to go about it.”
By the Seven Beards of Zeus! Hold on a minute. This book is like $19.95! Do I need SATURN to tell me that if I eat a big onion for breakfast I probably will not feel very good at noontime?
OK, so I’m thinking... "No, it’s got to get better than this".... (next paragraph now)... “Like last month, most of the planets are below the Horizon and your 4th House of Home and Family is much stronger than your 10th House of Career. So this is a period for getting your home, family and emotional life in order.”
Hold the phone. Is there a time of the year when these things are NOT important to get in order?
So I think, "maybe only Taurus is like this." I turn to my own zodiac sign, Sagittarius.

And at first, as I read what a Sagittarius is supposed to be like, I was fairly impressed.... “Sagittarians are noted for the development of the mind – the higher intellect – which understands philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual concepts. This mind represents the higher part of the psychic nature and is motivated not by self-centered considerations but by the light and grace of a Higher Power. Thus, Sagittarians love higher education of all kinds. They might be bored with formal schooling but they love to study on their own and in their own way.” (294).
That is sooooo me! It’s not even funny.
But then I turned the page, and read.... “Sagittarians generally entice wealth.” (295).
Sweet Lord!
I am poor as hell, and going absolutely nowhere good, in this area of life!

So I began to wonder.... what about the person whom you could only describe in the following fashion:
“You are a real prick. People generally try to avoid you because you tend to be so obnoxious and rude. You are noted for not ever wanting to develop your mind and you abhor all forms of formal and informal education. You have zero sense of humor and as a result, people that laugh or enjoy life, bother you.”
I’m flipping around all over in this book... and I do not find this guy!
Yet we all know he exists, right?
What the hell sign is this guy?

And what about twins?
Born minutes apart, perhaps... in the same... city.... (one would hope)!
Would astrology claim that these two people, (two separate entities who would have so nearly exact astrological charts), are they destined to grow up and have the same daily horoscope, the same temperaments, inhibitions, problems, talents?
I know what the experts would say... they would say that these identical twins, or similarly, what are known as “time-twins” (people born at the same exact time but not related to each other)... all of these would have different astrological charts if a proper one were drawn up, because their Ascendent would not be in the same degree and may often be in the next or previous sign altogether.
But can we stop the train for a moment here?
That explanation makes the whole thing sound even MORE absurd to me.
As though the difference of twenty-five seconds or a minute causes PLANETS to assign slightly different characteristics to two separate freshly-born infants.


Beth said...

To further debunk astrology, I checked my horoscope for yesterday.
"Setbacks of one sort or another are inevitable today but how you react to them is not...blah, blah, blah..."
Hell, yesterday was finally a day of no setbacks!
But now your post has me singing, "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius..."

Cleo said...

As far as the twin theory goes, I have 16 yr old twin sons, born 1 minute apart and they are as different as night and day - or like Capricorn and Pisces or whatever...

cipriano said...

Beth and Cleo:
Points well taken.
I maintain that astrology, as any sort of even half-objectively valuable science is...... BOLOGNA!
Or... a WIENER, flattened out into a more acceptable sandwich-like format.

Astrology is an over-rated fad.
Like Michael Buble.
Or Josh Groban.
All three of these things will go the way of the dodo-bird!

Beth, your reference to that song serves to remind me that I will forever be [unrequitedly] in love with Marilynn McCoo.

Shark said...

Apparently the moon can affect the rise and fall of ocean tides...