5. Ronald Reagan’s day-to-day schedule Nancy Reagan, a Cancer (nup, I don’t like the connotations either), then first lady, was a big believer in astrology, and had a personal astrological advisor called Joan Quigley. After the assassination attempt on her husband in 1981, she became very influential in organising her husband’s schedule, perhaps more influential even than any Presidential secretary before her. Perhaps the worst to come from that was a false sense of security that may have interfered with the practical steps the secret service could take in protecting Reagan.
4. Wall Street omnishambles According to US reports, over 300 Wall Street traders are paying around $237 a year to subscribe to financial astrologer Karen Starich’s newsletter. While the decisions of traders and economists may seem to be guided by factors as arbitrary as the stars, at least a semblance of rationality is important to maintain stability in the markets. Financial markets rely on confidence, and the causal cycle this creates means predictions can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Apparently the most important hint from the newsletter is not to trade when Mercury is in retrograde, which is three times a year because communications tend to breakdown at that time and you get many accidental sales. I wonder how those times match up with the timeline of the financial meltdown.
3. Jung’s theory of synchronicity In formulating his influential psychological theories of archetypes, Carl Jung, a Cancer, also delved into various forms of mystical beliefs to better understand the symbols that pervaded the cultural unconscious. He came upon the Zodiac and at some point decided that he observed a correlation between his patient’s symbolic depictions and the Zodiac. This is where I empathise most with believers in the Zodiac- everybody at some point needs some kind of beliefs in personality types to organize their lives and relationships. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, for example, very popular on social media, although based on purportedly objective psychometric data, stemmed from this tradition.
2. Farewell, Rangoon Than Shwe, an Aquarius, and the former head of the Burmese junta who ruled the country for almost 20 years using “psychological warfare” against his people, always loved to consult his stars. In early 2005, the government’s favourite astrologers saw his star falling and predicted the regime would do so too unless it moved house. On November 4, he ordered all government workers to be ready to move in two days, and as of the 6th, Pyinmana became the new capital, forcing geography students the world over to re-check Wikipedia. Some also attribute Burma’s change of road orientation in 1970 to zodiac beliefs. According to the junta’s astrologer, Burma had simply gone politically too far left.
1. The quest for baby Jesus According to many religious historians, the Three Wise Men had a strong belief in astrology, which at the time was considered a science, and the birth of Jesus coincided with an astrological phenomenon, denoted in the Bible by “the Star in the East”. This phenomenon could have been one of many, depending on astrological accounts, such as the appearance of Jupiter and Saturn in the same place in the sky at the same time, the alignment of Sirius with the three bright stars on Orion’s belt, or the end of the Roman Winter Solstice. Many Christian astrologers still believe that we are living in the Age of Pisces and that the dawning of the Age of Aquarius will signal the second coming of Jesus Christ.