Since I was little, whenever I read the newspaper or a magazine my subconscious would automatically take me to the page holding the horoscopes. The horoscopes, or star-signs, were always short and fluffy, and usually accompanied by an inconspicuous image of Psychic Sally in all her aura-infused, crystal ball glory. First, I would read my mother’s star sign out loud to her because old-wives tales tell us that it’s bad luck to read your own out loud. Secondly, I would read mine – out loud – digesting all 55 words with careful precision, while simultaneously trying to match the jumble of words with events that had happened the previous day, in the hope of believing that my future was, in fact, written right before my eyes. Lastly, I would jump to the star-sign of whoever my crush was at the time, read it, and swoon over the possibility of falling into their arms. Desperate, I know. I knew back then what I know now: I don’t believe in the Mystic Megs and the Psychic Sallys of the world, but, for some reason, like millions of others, I find some hope and ease in reading them. I don’t read them seeking the ‘truth’, but for a moment, the irrational side of my brain finds comfort knowing that everything will turn out okay.
The Barnum Effect or Forer Effect are the names given to how we interpret these messages to be tailored specifically for us, regardless of their vagueness. Meaning that my horoscope from April 2007 is more than likely to be the exact same as today’s insight, and usually signifies something about being careful about my finances, taking charge – but not being too dominant, and something trivial about my love life. So why do I find myself falling into the same meagre cycle with the zodiac? It’s a love/hate relationship: I hate that I read them, but I love breaking my day (working online leads to reading plenty of unfavourable material) with a glimpse of positivity. In a world of chaos and bad news, isn’t it okay to look to the stars for hope?
The Earth, the stars, and the science
Real astrology is scientifically based, in comparison to the staff writer who has been unwillingly assigned to write the daily swill in a dark office somewhere. Astrology is what’s called a pseudo-science consisting of theoretical and technical frameworks, and whereby astrologers (someone who is well-learned in astrology) can interpret the effects that celestial movements have on a person’s energy level and mood. Unfortunately, consumer popularity is responsible for the drab content that appears in the backend of tabloids. The study of astrology dates back to the beginning of the third millennium (prior to calculators and the internet of course), and today there are millions of people who educate and subject themselves to the power of astrology; so-much-so, in fact, that it has correlated to a somewhat cult-like organisation.
But how do you tell the difference between true astrology and unfavourable jibberish? Like most things in life, knowledge is key: Susan Miller, founder of Astrologyzone.com is a modern-day Nostradamus and perhaps one of the most widely acclaimed astrologers. Using mathematical cycles, Miller interprets detailed daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports for each of the 12 zodiacs. Astrologers do not predict the future – which is often thought – but they have a unique ability to illustrate how the energy of the solar system can affect every part of our body. After all, our entire cosmos is compiled of energy. Miller has gained a reputable following over the last 20 years and has over 251,000 followers on Twitter alone, suggesting that astrology’s popularity is indeed on the increase. Nicknamed ‘the astrologists to the stars’ identical twin sisters Tali and Ophira Edut – known as The AstroTwins -are professional astrologists whose planetarian readings have earned them a devoted audience including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Sting, and Avril Lavigne. The sisters are also regular Astro-readers on Elle.
Not into the zodiac stuff, but need a pick-me-up?
While astrological ‘predictions’ have not been proved to be scientifically accurate, they are what the reader makes of them, and if that introduces positive change to a person’s life – whether physical or mental – well then it’s worth giving it a go. If you’re sceptical about astrology but would like a daily dose of positivity, then I recommend signing up for emails from The Universe – literally. The Universe Talks, or TUT for short, is a quick and humorous daily email service that reminds you to keep on truckin’ when things get tough. Here are some of my recent ones…