Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What is your horoscope today?

When I do date searches on iGoogle, how is it that horoscopes show in the top three searches>?

They seem to have passed into disrepute compared to a few decades ago when there was more interest in them.   However, centuries ago, there was significant attention to astrology.  Astrology was closely related to astronomy in 1600.  It was a scholarly tradition until the 17th century, and it helped drive the development of astronomy.

An article by Ryan J. Stark  says that: "Except for the Bible, no body of documents had a larger circulation in seventeenth-century England than astrological almanacs. "  It was in the 1700's that astrology declined.

Here we are today with newspapers and magazines in our time including the daily horoscope, and somehow persisting. I found the answers in an article in the Smithsonian "How are Horoscopes Still a Thing?"  The newspaper horoscope is accredited to R.H. Naylor, a prominent British astrologer of the first half of the 20th century.  He did the horoscope for the recently born Princess Margaret in 1930, and it somehow was a tipping point for the popular consumption of horoscopes. Naylor did some predicting that seemed to come true, so he started a weekly column.

And why do horoscopes continue to run so many decades later?  Readers like them.  There seems to be little scientific proof that astrology is an accurate predictor of personality traits, future destinies, love lives, or anything else.

And for many people they go online to find out what their horoscope says for today.  Is it your birthday? 

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