News and Opinions

Do you swear by Astrology?

on . Posted in Commentary.


Daily predictions. Weekly predictions. Monthly predictions. Yearly predictions.
In magazines, websites, newspapers… predictions to your handphone!

I have many gay friends who swear by astrology.
“My star sign totally describes me. It’s 100% accurate.”

To start off, i decided to google “What is Astrology?”

  1. Astrology (from Greek: astron, “star” + logos, “word”) is any of several traditions or systems in which knowledge of the apparent positions of celestial bodies is held to be useful in understanding, interpreting, and organizing knowledge about reality and human existence on earth.
  2. a pseudoscience claiming divination by the positions of the planets and sun and moon.
  3. the belief that the relative positions of planets, planetoids and stars, can influence events and behavior surrounding us.
  4. The pseudoscience that deals with the supposed influences of the configurations and locations in the sky of the Sun, Moon, and planets on human destiny; a primitive religion having its origin in ancient Babylonia.

Well, there is a huge debate going on about the validity of astrology. And here seems to be the gist of what those who are against astrology are saying:

The camp against astrology:
How does your star sign come about?
It depends on where the sun is when you are born.
Well, strictly speaking, the sun and stars don’t move. Only planets move. The sun appears to enter into different zodiac signs. For example: in the beginning of spring, the sun is located in Pisces. But a couple of thousand years ago it was in Aries.

This paragraph written by John Mosley in his article “Born under Ophiuchus’ and ignored by the horoscopes: a modern dilemma” highlights this point: “If you were born during the first two weeks of May 2600 years ago, you were born when the sun was in both the sign and constellation of Taurus. Now during those weeks the sun is in Aries. Astrologically speaking, you are still a Taurus; astronomically speaking you are an Aries. Likewise, most Libras are really Virgos, and so on.” So, for a more accurate reading of horoscopes, you should be looking at the sign for the earlier month. This article also mentioned a 13th horoscope- Ophiuchus.

What causes this movement?
It’s precession.
Hipparchus discovered precession in the first century BC when he noticed that the coordinates of the stars measured 170 years ago was of 2 degrees difference from his measures.
The earth is tilted at 23.5 degrees and it is spinning on its axis. It is not spherical, but bulges in the middle near the equator. It wobbles slowly like a top at the end of its spin, because of gravitational pulls from the moon and the sun. As such, it earth shifts about 0.01395 degrees every year- it is not stationary. Small as it appears, but coordinates of stars change with time. And regular update is needed. For a complete precession (360 degrees), it takes about 25800 years.

“The precession can also be seen in terms of the “North Star”. Currently the North Pole of the Earth is aligned with the fixed star Polaris. This was not the case 3,000 years ago; and by the year 14,000 A.D., the North Star will be Vega, not Polaris.” To add to this: Because of precession, the sun may not be in any of the astrologers’ contellations at your birth. Hence not everyone has a star sign.

The defending camp:
There is a difference between the Sidereal and Tropical Zodiac. The Tropical Zodiac is used by many Western astrologers and begins at the Spring Equinox. But it is not the only zodiac system. The Sidereal zodiac takes precession into account and begins when the Sun aligns with a star in the constellation of Aries.

These two systems have different interpretations of the Signs:
“Tropical Astrology believes that the qualities associated with the signs are linked to the seasons, rather than to the fixed stars, and therefore the precession of the equinoxes and the growing difference between the Tropical Signs and the relative positions of their namesake constellations is of no consequence. Sidereal Astrologers believe that the qualities of the signs are not related to the seasons, but rather to the specific portions of the ecliptic as measured against the fixed stars… While there is certainly a greater correlation between the Sidereal Signs and the constellations along the ecliptic, again, the constellations do not divide the ecliptic into equal segments and therefore they are not used as the basis for the Sidereal Zodiac.” -Kevin Burk-

In other words, neither Sidereal nor Tropical Zodiac rely on Constellations.

For a better understanding of this debate, you can click on the following.
So how real has it been for you?
Astrology has a measure of interpretation. There is also a measure of self-fulfilling prophecy involved.

Buy it or not, astrology is a fascinating subject on its own.

But for astrology materials that dispense general truths…
“Keep your clarity of vision and proceed towards your goal with objectivity….”
“The trick is to maintain your calm and look at the problems without delay.”
These keep my eyes rolling.



# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:01

pleinelune said,

June 10, 2006 at 8:31 pm

I don’t see how movements of distant suns and moon can possibly have any effect on my life. The stars don’t care about my life! It makes no scientific sense!
# xSpert 2010-02-02 03:01

xSpert said,

June 10, 2006 at 10:44 pm

I belive that my destiny is in my hands! I’ve worked with some similar theory (in field of chaos), but I don’t belive in that.
# Eelsa 2010-02-02 03:02

elsa said,

June 11, 2006 at 12:10 am

believer! after 35 years of study, I have no doubt.
# Ttreefrog 2010-02-02 03:02

treefrog said,

June 11, 2006 at 12:15 am

oh Mier …

my favourite artist!
# jjade 2010-02-02 03:02

jade said,

June 11, 2006 at 2:09 am

agree with pleinelune. doesn’t make sense at all.

gravitational pull and cyclical movements, yeah, but for the planets to shape our destiny is too far-flung!
# xSpert 2010-02-02 03:03

xSpert said,

June 11, 2006 at 2:17 am

“treefrog ->”

It looks like that I allways end up being one half of a horse :-)
# Mier 2010-02-02 03:03

Mier said,

June 11, 2006 at 11:01 am

Nice pix treefrog. hehe.

I think Astrology is in vogue because people like to think that they know what’s going to happen next. Less uncertainty in life!

When i first started out to write this article, I was going to present only the camp against. Because so far, all scientists/mathematicians are against the view “astrology as valid”. (And that’s what i was taught in NUS as well. lol.)

After a quick google, i realize that the defending camp’s argument is also mathmatically interesting. That’s why it’s presented too.

In this article, i did not go into whether the interpretations are substantiated. But there are die-hard believers out there who swore it’s true.

To each her own!
# Mier 2010-02-02 03:03

Mier said,

June 11, 2006 at 11:21 am

I think i also have problems with the 12 personalities that come with the Zordiac signs. I was wondering: how can it be that the world is broadly divided into only 12 categories of people? And the descriptions given can be rather specific for each Star sign.

When i was first reading it, i found out that 6 of them describe me. That was before i found out which star sign i was. =)

Maybe some expert on astrology can tell us more.
# pleinelunee 2010-02-02 03:03

pleinelune said,

June 11, 2006 at 11:54 am

That’s because the zodiac stuff is generically packaged, broad enough so that it can seem to apply to you.
# victoriasecret 2010-02-02 03:03

victoriasecret said,

June 11, 2006 at 2:37 pm

hehehe i agree with you pleine.. =)
# BOLAF 2010-02-02 03:03

BOLAF said,

June 12, 2006 at 7:08 pm

Peraps the need for the stars to have meaning stems from the fact that plenty of people want their lives to have “significance” instead of being just about random occurences that happen out of chance. I mean if you think about it, it does make monotony,suffering,unanswered questions a lot easier to bear than if it were otherwise.

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