Sally Brompton The Astrologer
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Devil's Advocate - The sceptics' view

‘The credibility of astrology took a giant leap forward yesterday when one-twelfth of the world’s population was hit by a white transit van outside their local supermarket.’

So quipped a television presenter in his introduction to a report on Sun sign astrology. And it is true that astrology provides a wealth of material for the sceptics, satirists and wits of the world.

Fortunately, most astrologers enjoy a good laugh – even if the target is themselves. Irony, self-mockery and humour are, after all, an integral part of understanding the human condition. And that is what astrology is all about.

So here we are playing Devil’s Advocate in order to bring you an alternative view of astrology courtesy of the some of the world’s doubters, detractors and cynics; as well as some well-honed quips from believers, addicts and those whose lives have brought them into contact with astrologers.

Such a person is Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of the UK’s Sun Newspaper, who dismissed his astrologer with a letter which began: ‘As you will, no doubt, already know by now…’

On an equally ironic note, writer Daniel Finkelstein has decided that being a media astrologer is a far more promising career than writing about politics, as he reveals in the following excerpt from his recent tongue-in-cheek article in the London Times:

IF I WANT to make a name for myself I've got to get going this week. So must Harry Connick Jr, Prince Harry, Twiggy and Jimmy Carter's former chief of staff Hamilton Jordan. It would be a big career week, too, for Conway Twitty and Ivan the Terrible if they weren't dead.

I learnt all this from reading Closer magazine's advice to Virgos…I've been studying my horoscope because I'm thinking of changing professions.

Americans spend $200 million a year finding out about their horoscopes, and surveys suggest that our own [the UK’s] interest and belief in star signs is comparable.

Contrast this with the poor turnout in elections and it is obvious that being an astrologer is a far more promising career than writing about politics. It’s time to make the change. There’s not a moment to lose. As Take a Break magazine informs me, my creative powers, just at the moment, are supercharged.

With my new job in the offing, I have only to overcome my unreasonable scepticism. I worry, for instance, that on days when I'm due to meet a tall, dark stranger there doesn't seem to be anyone else due to meet a medium-height, bespectacled Jew.

I'm also concerned that everyone's star sign carries admiring references to their acumen and moral strength. Why don't I ever open the paper to find: "You are a buffoon and August will be a disaster. You may be faced with a challenge but you will weasel your way out as you always do."

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