The idea that your personal fate, and the course of global events, are controlled by the apparent movement of the Sun and planets relative to bunches of stars that are at varying (but extreme) distances from the Earth, patterns which some highly nearsighted ancient Greeks thought looked vaguely like scorpions and rams and lions and weird mythical creatures like "sea-goats."It definitely falls into the "how could that possibly work?" department, a question that is usually answered with vague verbiage about vibrations and energies and cosmic resonances.
But like I said, all of that is old territory, here at Skeptophilia. But yesterday, thanks to a loyal reader and frequent contributor, I found out something that I didn't know about astrology; lately, astrologers have been including the asteroids in their chart-drawing and fortune-telling.
Don't believe me? Listen to this lady, Kim Falconer, who tells us that we should consider the asteroids in our astrological calculations -- but only use the ones we want. There are too many asteroids, she said, to track them all; "Use the asteroids that have personal meaning to you."
Falconer is right about one thing; there are a great many asteroids out there. Astronomers currently think there are between 1.1 and 1.9 million asteroids in the belt between Mars and Jupiter alone, and that's not counting the ones in erratic or elliptical orbits. So it would be a lot to track, but it would have the advantage of keeping the astrologers busy for a long time.
As far as which ones to track, though -- this is where Falconer's recommendations get even funnier, because she says we should pay attention to the names of the asteroids. Concerned about money? Check out where the asteroids "Abundantia" and "Fortuna" are. Concerned about love? Find "Eros" and "Aphrodite." And I'm thinking; where does she think these names come from? All of them were named by earthly astronomers, more or less at random. I mean, it's not like the names have anything to do with the actual objects. For example, here's a photograph of Eros:
[image courtesy of NASA and the Wikimedia Commons]
Anything less sexy-looking is hard to imagine, especially given all of the craters and pits and warts on its surface.
But that's missing the point, from Falconer's view, and I realize that. She and her cohort believe that when Auguste Charlois and Gustav Witt discovered the thing way back in 1898 and gave it its name, they somehow were tapping into a Mystical Reservoir of Connectedness and linked it to Quantum Energies of Love. Or something like that.
But even so, the "choose the asteroids you like" thing seems very much like just drawing up the astrological chart you want. Because, after all, if there are over a million to choose from, there are bound to be some that have names and positions that are favorable to whatever direction you'd like your life to take. It's a little like drawing up your Tarot card hand by going through the deck and pulling out the cards you like, and arranging them however you want, and claiming that's your reading.
Yes, I know that the actual way Tarot cards are read is equally ridiculous. It was just an analogy, okay?
Anyhow, that's the latest from the world of horoscopes. But I better wrap this up, because the asteroid Hygiea is currently crossing into the constellation Horologium the Clock, which means it's time for me to go take a shower so I can get ready for work.