“”Now you may find it inconceivable
Or at the very least a bit unlikely
|—"Weird Al" Yankovic|
|Style over substance|
A horoscope is a divination from an astrologer, who, by taking no more into account than their client's date, time, and place of birth, tells them incredible things about themselves that they already knew, and usually some nice things that will happen to them soon.
People have a tendency to assign detail and specific meaning to generalized statements or events — that's the Forer effect. Also, if you read enough horoscopes, once in a while one is bound to apply![note 1] Wooooo!!! When subjected to double-blind tests horoscopes have been shown to fail miserably time after time.
An adjunct to casting the wonderful spell is drawing up the
gullible fool's client's "chart", which consists of a diagram of where the Sun, Moon and planets were at their time and place of birth, and what they were "doing". Very often the "actions" of these celestial bodies are critical to the actions the client should pursue in the present and near future.
The word horoscope may also refer to the chart itself, which plots ecliptic longitudes of sun, moon, and planets for a specific date/time, and usually house positions for the specific location at that time.
Today, most people come across horoscopes in newspapers and dating websites. These are based totally off of zodiac signs, the implications of this being that at least one of the twelve horoscopes every publication would apply to more than 500,000,000 people.[note 2] To get around this, they are incredibly vague to the point of meaninglessness. Some people believe that their horoscope signs need to match in order to find or keep a partner. Actual relationship experts advise daily communication with your loved ones and not keeping secrets from them.
In the interests of science, RW has gathered various horoscopes from the same day. If there was any truth to them, they should be the same.[note 3] However, this hypothesis remains inconclusive as they're are indeed too vague to make something of. Readers should pay particular note of the "ifs" in the second two examples, which serve to remove that phrase if they don't apply, thus disguising a complete miss as a mere indirect hit.
“”Romance is looking positively wonderful today, with a couple of positive aspects pointing the way for some tender moments for you. Just make sure that you manage to balance the demands of work or school perfectly so that nothing clogs your mind when you settle down with that special someone!
“”You are very open to new ideas, especially ones likely to upset others, because you have a slightly rebellious streak about you. You have the courage of your convictions and will not be swayed by criticism. Socially you'll be much in demand. If you are on the lookout for a new romance, you could find it with someone slightly older. It may not be grand passion, but it could raise your social status, and get you invited out to all the best places
|—Marjorie, Daily Mail|
“”Ideally, your comfort zone shouldn't extend further than your feather bed. You have, surely, a professional point to prove even if it means becoming a solo act. Group chemistry helps, but individual acts of glory are what your 'scope has in mind. If you're single, the public realm likewise promises more possibilities than the cosy ol' gang. You are, however, being offered a second bite at a recent cherry.
|—Neil Spencer, The Guardian|
- This author has read two uncannily accurate horoscopes in the daily paper! Count 'em, two!
- This is directly from the pigeonhole principle — barring any birth irregularities, on average every horoscope would apply to around 500,000,000 people.
- For Cancer on May 15th 2009