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Horoscopes: Myth or Magic?

by Charles Kassotis

Do you read your horoscope in the daily newspaper? Maybe you call the horoscope hotline on occasion to find out what a reader has to say about your future. You might even dabble in the occult yourself from time to time. Why do people care about this mysterious reading of their zodiac sign and the telling of their futures? Is there any real truth in the predictions?

Horoscopes have been around for centuries if not millennia. Humans have long been fascinated with the earth and its relationship to other celestial bodies in the solar system and even the universe. Star constellations have been particularly interesting to stargazers, who attempt to make meaning from the constellations themselves as well as the shift of certain stars or planets, sometimes called heavenly bodies. The significance of certain planetary groupings, as well as solar or lunar eclipses, is believed to have a bearing on the chain of events in a person's life.

Such beliefs play a key role in our culture. Even the Bible emphasizes the importance of the Star of Bethlehem that showed the magi, or scholars, in the East where the infant Jesus was to be born. Nathaniel Hawthorne's famous novel, The Scarlet Letter, associates various meanings with a shooting star viewed one night by Puritans living in 17th century Salem. The star was believed by some to stand for "A" with respect to hero Hester Prynne, the adulteress, and by others to represent "A" for angel regarding the dying governor.

As our species grew more civilized, we searched for answers to life's problems among the things of the earth. When these did not always pan out, we turned our collective gaze to the stars of heaven, hoping for more information there. Some people believe they can read the stars and planets to make meaning that will illuminate other people's lives. People of every land and civilization have attempted to read those specks of light that can be seen above us at night to find the answers to universal and personal questions.

If you are wondering whether a horoscope reader can help you, it may help to ask a few questions before handing over your credit card for processing. Ask about the reader's credentials. Where did he or she study? How much experience does the person have? What are his or her specialties (i.e., career, romance, health, etc.). What happens if the person's predictions don't come true? Can the reader provide references for you to consult?

All of us thrill to the prospect of learning more about ourselves and the possibility of things to come. But be careful to use discernment in choosing a guide who will provide this information for you. Anyone can set up shop as a stargazer or horoscope hustler, and in fact, many people do. Their information will often sound generic, and it could apply to just about anyone. So look for someone who seems to be a little more authentic than just anyone who puts an ad in the newspaper or sends you email spam.

To learn more about the origins of horoscope study, visit Astrology Study

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June 19, 2024
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