The allure of astrology

December 6, 2011

When an acquaintance offered for a second time to generate an astrological profile for me free of charge, I couldn’t resist.

Now let me be clear: astrology is not a science. There’s no reason to think that one’s personality or life can be predicted according to one’s time and place of birth by the positions of heavenly bodies relative to one’s place of birth at one’s time of birth. But I thought it would be interesting to compare an astrologer’s view of me with my view of myself.

My first impression was that the flavor of astrology practiced by my acquaintance — she described it as a Western tropical geocentric system — made a LOT of predictions. Some of them seemed sort of consistent with my self-image, others seemed contrary, and still others seemed so generic as to be almost meaningless. For example, in terms of my “Balance of Elements,” I’m rated as strong in Air and weak in Water.

Scores: Fire 7, Earth 5, Air 9, Water 2

You are objective and philosophical, preferring to view life from an intellectual perspective. Your rational mind will outweigh your feelings every time, as you consider the world of emotions to be irrational. You have a high sense of fairness, and a logical thought process. Your weakness lies in the fact that you view emotions in a disparaging light.

You are out of kilter with your emotions. Crying or losing your cool in front of other people would be a horrifying thought, let alone action, for you. You often lack compassion for others in your human relationships, and need to learn to honor both your own and other people’s feelings.

I acknowledge that I place a high value on rationality, logic, and fairness, but I don’t think that I am out of touch with my emotions or discount their significance.

As another example, here’s what my “Balance of Rays” says about me.

Scores: 1st Ray 0, 2nd Ray 5, 3rd Ray 5, 4th Ray 12, 5th Ray 8, 6th Ray 9, 7th Ray 0

You can be spontaneous, imaginative and conciliating. You have a love of beauty and music, and the ability to reconcile opposites. However, you may have a tendency to worry, be moody, combative and indecisive.

You can be enthusiastic, loyal and devoted. You have strong idealism and humility the ability to inspire others [sic]. However, you may have a tendency towards fanaticism, gullibility, rigid idealism and over-emotionalism.

Again, I can pick out certain words that fit well (e.g., “loyal and devoted”) and others that do not (e.g., “fanaticism” — unless the stars are referring specifically to my interest in ultramarathons).

So why is this stuff so appealing to so many people? I have a couple of guesses. First, people hear what they want to hear, approvingly noting the items that make sense to them and kind of forgetting about the rest. Second, when an astrologer meets clients in person, he/she can get a read on what they’re like and tweak the predictions accordingly.

I’d say more, but the moon is about to enter my 7th house, and that means I need to prioritize extra sleep and personal grooming for the next 9.5 hours.


  1. Well, to be precise (read: pedantic), you can actually predict a lot about a person from knowing where and when they’re born. For instance, someone born in the US is likely to be different, in various predictable ways, from someone born in Somalia. Same for people born in, say, 1011 vs. 2011.

    On a non-pedantic note, I’m sure you’re right about why astrology appeals to people.

  2. Good point, Jeremy. I have revised the sentence to make it more precise.

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