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Astrology

by Rich Ledoux about a year ago in astronomy
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Let It Be

Astrology. Ah that old romantic, dare I say sexy, unconventional, dare I say kooky, field of study rooted in ancient philosophies that has taken on many forms but practiced by eccentrics from all over the globe since before the birth of Christ. In case there’s anyone out there who has been living under an asteroid, let’s have Wikipedia explain. After all, the internet encyclopedia is more trusted today than…astrology:

“Astrology is a pseudoscience that claims to divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of celestial objects” (“Astrology”, 2021).

Pseudoscience is a science or practice that is mistakenly based on scientific method, basically an unproven science. Wiki’s definition above sure makes it sound as such, with words like divine, terrestrial and celestial. I’m familiar with what is currently known as Contemporary Western astrology, which relies on professional astrologers and their use of horoscopes to explain a person’s personality AND predict significant events that may happen throughout their life. They do this by looking to the stars, or more specifically looking at the positions of celestial objects in the sky, such as planets and stars. WHAT?

Many people do not regard astrology as a pseudoscience and although I may have led off here by implying that I am certainly not one of them, I’m not entirely convinced of that. My Capricorn sign took over while beginning this piece. You see, us Capricorns have been deemed practical by astrologers. I’ve also read pessimistic and critical, which might have played into the first couple of paragraphs. My predetermined wires, however, have gotten crossed at times along the way. My propensity to use snarky sarcasm as criticism like that tells me (and you) that I will forever remain skeptical of this dark science but my heart really does want to believe. Am I a hopeless romantic? I may have more research to do in the field.

Western astrology points to 12 zodiac signs which are assigned by birth dates, or the “position of the sun” at that date. Astrology can supposedly infer more specific personality traits by a person’s actual date of birth (including the year). Alright, here is where my skepticism, or critical thinking, on the matter mainly lies: there are only 12 signs. We are expected to believe that we can narrow it down to just 12 general personalities? I get it, there should be enough overlap with the right amount of description of each sign to curb some doubt but my practical brain goes to the number 7.8+ billion. That’s how many people we currently have inhabiting this planet. I guess if you cover every conceivable personality trait and spread it out over only 12 signs then you can connect each person to at least one listed trait. What I’ve done here, though, is merely explain how a magic trick is done. That is not sound evidence for the anti-pseudoscience people.

Here is where I try to find some actual science to appease my romantic self who would love to believe, and draw some comfort, in astrology: The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator has identified only 16 possible personality types. Myers and Briggs and their theory are widely accepted by those within the science of psychology. So who is to say that the amazing scientific conclusion that there are fewer than 20 personality types for billions of people can’t be determined within the even more amazing and relatively unexplored and explained four-dimensional continuum that hangs so far over all of our heads? I know, it’s a lot to process. Too heavy to know for sure if there is something real behind the business of astrology if you ask me. That’s my final answer.

I, like so many others, want to believe. It’s why I can’t help but stop at the Horoscopes section anytime I’m perusing a newspaper. It’s why I read the words under Capricorn. It’s also why I usually smile after I’m done reading every word. It’s why I always draw direct comparisons for just about every personality trait listed for Capricorn. For the traits that I don’t identify with, I look to Aquarius and find a bunch there that I connect with. Why? Because I am a cusp sign. Someone who is “on the cusp” is born toward the end of a zodiac sign and can therefore share traits with the next sign. I was born on January 19, widely accepted as the very last day to be classified a Capricorn. Even more reason to spill on over to Aquarius [maniacal laugh]. Astrology has really set the hook in tight now. How can I not believe, with so many identifiable personality traits between the two signs? Get to know me and tell me I’m wrong.

Yes, I am a believer. Also my final answer. I’ve never actually admitted that to anyone before. I guess I just needed the power of writing to even really admit it to myself. You see, I really am practical in my outlook on everything else and astrology never fit in that box in my brain, with the whole pseudoscience tag hanging over it. I couldn’t file it away properly. I used to struggle with this but I think it’s now time to own it. I believe in astrology. It’s no longer my quirky little secret, let’s call it an enduring break from the Milky Way. Breaking away from an astrologically appointed character trait so that I can accept the others. How romantically ironic. It doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m still practical in other aspects, as well as perseverant, sensitive, melancholy yet ambitious (if there’s enough mental stimulation), shy yet eccentric, loyal and devoted, suspicious, and a highly intellectual person who loves helping others. I am a proud Capricorn/Aquarius cusp sign, damn it! The next time I’m in public I’ll even confidently ask someone to pass the Comics section of the newspaper…cause I’m also still a kid at heart…no other reason.

astronomy

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Rich Ledoux

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