The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 7, 2000

What forecasts foretell
By P.Khurrana

HOW can the predictions made for any Zodiac sign be accurate for all those born under that particular sign? Is astrology a mere hangover of ancient superstition? Astrologers say they practice a complex subject but is it a science?

All these questions are very natural and logical, considering the intensely scientific environment that we live in today.

A number of people read the astrology columns that appear in newspapers and magazines with immense interest. It is also true that some people are highly sceptical about prediction they read in newspapers.

The most popular argument against astrology runs something like this: There are over 3, 000,000,000, people in the world which if divided by 12, gives a figure of 250,000,000. How can the horoscope of a day, a week, or a month, that appear in popular magazines or newspapers be true for such a large number of people? The authenticity of the predictions so made are indeed ambiguous.

  The fact is that such horoscopes cannot be taken seriously. Given the constraints of space, the astrologer can provide the masses with only a general reading that may have some merit. Also the astrologer needs to know more than the month in which the person was born to have an accurate insight into his past, present and future.

All horoscopes that appear in magazines and newspapers are general. To get an credible forecast, the astrologer needs specific data such as the hour, the day and the year of the birth of the individual in question. Therefore, weekly prediction may not necessarily apply to every individual.

Take for instance, a person born on August 6. Broadly speaking he or she is a Leo born between July 21 and August 20 when the Sun is in Leo. We must, however, account for the position of the Sun, which enters a fresh sign approximately every 48 hours.

Now the weekly prediction for the Leos will be for those people who were born between July 21 and August 20.

Here the astrologer does not take into account the naam rashi, year and the specific date of birth of the person i.e. August 6.

Leo characteristics in a person born on August 18, will be less prominent as the date is close to the incoming sign of Virgo. Likewise if a person is born on July 23 he comes in the cusp of the previous sign of Cancer and the following sign, Leo. Here he gradually loses the strength of Cancer as he now enters a new sign (Leo, in this case).

Therefore it is important that the persons reading these newspaper and magazine predictions realise that they are produced after studying the daily position of planets for a group of people and are not specific to any individual.

Predictions like "expect a marriage proposal" or "love stars twinkle" apply only to people who are either in love or eligible for marriage. Sometimes stars tell a person to "observe traffic rules". This evidently is not meant for those who don’t drive.

For accurate prediction based on an individual’s birth chart the astrologer has to rely on mathematical calculation and find the exact moment of "transit", the eclipse of the Sun or the Moon, trines squares, oppositions conjunctions, sextiles and other details of various planets have a strong bearing on human destiny.

We all have our good days and bad days. Sometimes they extend for weeks together. It is therefore, advisable to study the predictions over a span of time which could range from the day before to several days ahead. For a more reliable prophecy re-read the monthly forecast. Daily predictions should not be taken seriously.

If the forecast tells one to expect a "difficult day" it does not necessarily indicate that the day would be full of obstructions or inconvenience. This is a warning to be cautious. The care taken would see you through the trouble indicated.

Ever since man stepped out of his cave he had a natural instinct to wonder what is going to happen to him in the future but astrology does not "tell fortunes" in the popular sense, despite the very generalised Sun sign columns of our daily newspapers or weekly magazines. In astrology individual is one thing and weekly forecasts another. The science of weekly stars has to be approached with common sense, a balanced frame of mind and discernment. These columns are for stimulating the interest of the public in the subject. Such forecasts are not meant to be followed blindly but they give guidelines to help a person schedule his day. If applied with a little common sense, the predictions made can prove very beneficial.

The subject of astrology has endured and evolved through 7000 years and has fascinated men like Confucious, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Plato, Milton, Alexander, Byron, Napoleon, Pythagorous and Galileo among others. Why was astrology so important to them? These people were definitely aware of the veracity of astro-science.