Every morning, I wake up and open the newspaper. I see tales of death, despair, agony, and Nicki Minaj (the last two are synonymous). I then proceed to ignore all of that, flip quickly to the last page to read my horoscope for the day, and then spend the rest of my day hiding in street corners, equipped with pepper-spray and kitchen weaponry, to keep away all the tall, dark, and handsome strangers yearning for the company of a Taurus.
In case you haven’t heard the story of how sun signs were discovered – or rather, invented – this is how it goes:
Dude #1: “Hey, if you connect that star on the top right to the one on the bottom left and then keep connecting stars until you get something that looks vaguely like many misshapen quadrilaterals and then just keep doodling until it turns into a woman with wings, we can call it Virgo.”
Dude #2: “Bro, that is so meta.”
And yet, I, and millions of other people in the world, eagerly read our horoscopes every single morning to find out whether today is the day we finally get married. Or conjunctivitis. Yes, your future depends on a game of join-the-stars that a couple of old bearded Babylonians played when they took a hiatus from gardening. That explains why Aquarius is a guy watering plants.
At this point, readers may have some pertinent questions about astrology and the suchlike. My newspaper tells me that the Taurean’s powers of divination are particularly strong today, so I have taken the liberty to formulate a list of potential questions, which I shall attempt to answer myself (again, the newspaper has warned me of unexpected moments of lucidity):
1. Does astrology work?
2. How does astrology work?
As stated previously, it began with the absence of a notepad to doodle on and the abundance of stars in the Babylonian night sky. Once each pattern of stars had been named after an animal (or twins, don’t know where that came from) the twelve sets were given a cool-sounding name: “The 12 Sun Signs of the Zodiac”.
After this, each sun sign was allotted a time of the month which was called a “house”. Then, someone decided that everyone born in the time of a month corresponding to one of the sun signs would be exactly the same in every single way, would lead the same lives, and would find a soul mate/ get fired/ get a cold at exactly the same time. They used calculus and vectors and mystical mathematical formulae to come to this conclusion, so no one could challenge it.
Also, horoscopes have no specific audience. So everyone born within the span of that one month – you, your dog, you toddler, your grandmother – is likely to be prodigal and overspend today. It’s true; those action figures really are too darn expensive.
3. Would you consider astrology a science?
The horoscopes in the newspaper are generally divided into three types:
a) Health: Today’s health prediction for us Taureans is that we will finally get rid of our allergies. I don’t have allergies. This horoscope stuff is more potent than I imagined.
Also, Pisces, your health tip for the day is: keep yourself hydrated. This is valuable and insightful advice; everyone born between 20th of February and the 20th of March must be especially prone to dehydration today because, well, they’re inherently fish-like.
b) Love: One-twelfth of the world’s population is going to find their soul mate today. And one-twelfth is going to get a divorce. Sorry, Geminis of the world.
But wait! If you’re a Gemini-Cancer cusp, you’ll get a divorce and find your soul mate, all in one day. A happy coincidence. So be on the look-out for that tall, dark stranger as you file your court papers. Remember to make eye contact with the judge.
c) Professional: Aries, take a sick leave today, because you’re likely to experience failure at work. Also those pesky Taureans will be walking around with all their allergies, it’s best you steer clear of them. It’s difficult to make important business decisions when someone keeps sneezing.
Verdict: Yes, it is a science. It involves categorization, mathematics, and health science. On a different (but closely-related) note, ghost-hunting is also a science.
4. Why do we both to read our horoscopes every morning when we know that there aren’t enough tall, dark and handsome strangers to go around?
Hope. And an abundance of Nicki Minaj.
To conclude, astrology is a pseudo-science, good only to facilitate feelings of optimism (sometimes) and the avoidance of page three divas who seem to dominate intellectual discussion these days.
And also, “taurus” is the only way you can call someone a fat cow and get away with it.