Horoscope Readers/Writers

Do these people use some sort of rules and principles in reading people’s horoscopes or writing horoscope columns, or is it all just completely made up randomly? If two horoscope readers read someone’s horoscope, is there a greater-than-chance likelihood that they say something similar?

[Note: denunciations of horoscope reading as being completely bogus are irrelevant to the above question, which accepts that premise.]

The modern horoscope is a random collection of extremely vague assurances that could pertain to 90% of the people on Earth.

Myriads of people have published books detailing their methods. I assume some have written columns of some sort.

If you’re positing that they’re all bogus, then by definition you’re saying that there are no correspondences greater than chance. The way it’s written, your question answers itself. Can you restate it so that another answer is possible?

It can’t just be made up randomly; there has to be some kind of vague pattern to it or not nearly so many people would buy into it. You say horoscope readers/writers… I don’t know if you mean people that write the horoscopes for certain zodiac signs every day in the papers, or if you also mean fortune tellers who actually sit down with an individual and read their fortune through some form of cold reading.

The former is probably a lot more random since it has to fit the experiences of so many people. But people cold-reading someone would be more likely to ask similar questions and pick up similar cues by the person being read. They’ll both ask about a deceased relative, or a name that starts with a certain letter, or some other such feeling out process. Watch videos and you’ll see how the basic process is similar, even though the predictions of course will have nothing to do with reality. If the person being read is trying to deceive the reader deliberately than yeah you’ll get all kinds of weird conflicting predictions.

I’d say the writings of horoscope authors would follow a similar pattern of consistency as things like vampires and werewolves. They do all follow a similar pattern. If everyone just made up random rules for how these mythical monsters function the whole thing would unravel and it wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular.

I assume that the OP meant it was “bogus” in the sense of having no correspondences greater than chance with reality, but was asking about the horoscopes written by different astrologers having correspondences with each other.

I imagine the sort of thing the OP is asking is: when you read the daily horoscope for Sagittarius in the newspaper, did the horoscope writer have any non-random reason, even a purely mumbo-jumbo reason, of assigning that particular fortune to Sagittarius and not to Cancer or Capricorn?

Fundamentals here are natural patterns (which loose relevance very fast behind 1AU). Include some some psychology and creative writing and a lot of vagueness …

And then you get: Scorpios will sleep poorly this night and Virgos might have headache problem tomorrow.
Read: It will be full moon illuminating into your bedroom this night and there is bad weather with significant drop of pressure prediction for tomorrow. Apply to all signs.

I would wonder whether it is plausible that the newspaper’s horoscope writer [= most junior journo / photocopy droid / coffee sherpa] would put in a hard few hours one week, write a dozen vague assertions of suitable length, and see them rotated over the next fortnight, on the assumption that today’s Leo will not read Wednesday’s Capricorn or the following Friday’s Scorpio.

The writer’s tedium would be leavened by opportunities to mention the planet ‘Uranus’ in interesting conjugation, or to indicate ‘a big moon rising tonight in the window’. Allusions to team colours in impending football finals would also be very apt and prescient.

If this was the case it would not be random, but predictable within the cycle, although the content of the dozen master-horoscopes would be strongly dictated by the actual effect that constellations have on humans.

Also there may be a purposeful narrative cycle of [say] - big positive, benign, benign, old acquaintance, slight bad, worse bad, slight positive, etc - that would take the caring reader on a journey over the course of a week to mask any sense of randomness.

Seems unlikely. Some wives probably read their husband’s or vice versa. As that could be any of the other 11. You wouldn’t want it to cycle with any short frequency.

Some do, some don’t.

Some astrologers really believe in their work. They follow ancient books of philosophy that assign a specific meaning to any given conjunction. They look at the present position of the planets, they look up the meaning in the ancient texts, and report accurately and honestly what it says. Two different astrologers from the same school of philosophy will give the same reading. There are different schools that will give different results.

Others just make up any old stuff.

Some people may just be making stuff up but I think most astrologers are using reference books, e.g., they let somebody else make stuff up and they simply copy it or reword it somewhat.

A popular book among astrologers that’s been around for a long time is “A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator” by Llewellyn George. It teaches how to draw up a chart and has about 500 pages of interpretations for all the various interactions of the planets.

FWIW, I bought the book out of curiosity around 1970. I studied up, hung a notice on the wall in a nearby laundromat offering to do astrological charts, and got a few calls. I did a few, was somewhat surprised at how easily people are taken in by scientific sounding babble, and lost interest.

That works amazingly well if you follow these rules:
[ol][li]Use “conventional” expectations. If Leos are expected to be lionistic, write the Leo segment accordingly, however you think lions should be.[/li]
[li]Use Barnum statements. Every statement should have two opposite parts, so the reader can identify with at least one. “You are a bold person, but sometimes you like to hang back.” How can you disagree with this?[/li]
Be vague, not specific, especially to time-frames. “You will soon come into wealth.” If the reader doesn’t find a $20 on the sidewalk today, he might next week. Just wait long enough, so the astrologer can never be wrong. And “come into wealth” might apply to getting a raise or a discount coupon.[/ol]

Note, a lot of these statements also apply to the sorts of personality tests that HR departments like to give. Basically Meyer-Briggs type tests.

Even though there’s a veneer of “research” involved in those, the lack of repeatability should be a dead giveaway those tests aren’t worth much. Yet there’s a large and successful industry generating these tests and interpreting the results for companies interested improving performance via a ‘scientific’ method. But the generated statements are often vague and can apply to most people even if only part of the time.

Personal example: one of the HR staff at my place of work did one of those personality assessments twice from the same company separated by 2 months. Got very different results each time. Her conclusion was not “Wow, this is BS. I should have gotten more similar results.” Instead, her conclusion was “Oh, well personality changes depending on what’s happening in your life and work-personality can be different from home-personality. It’s great this test can pick that up.”

There’s a lot of bogus science involved but people totally buy into it. Likewise astrology. It’s a classic cognitive bias. Even mutually contradictory results can be taken as positive evidence.

Astrology is pseudo-scientific. Sort of like Homeopathy. Assumptions are made about the nature of planets /constellation/signs and their position are used for predictions.

I am not defending astrology, it’s a belief system just like religion.

For starters, think about the earth as a center of a circle. Now divide the circle into twelve parts (like a pie). Label each pie slice - Aquarius, Capricorn, …

In whichever slice the sun falls in at your birth, that’s your sun sign. Whichever slice your moon falls in at your time of your birth, is your moon sign. Whichever sign is one the eastern horizon is your rising sign and so on.

So, if your sign is Capricorn and Venus (the god of love) falls in your slice of the sky this week, you will have love in the forecast. If Mars (the god of war) happens to be in your slice then expect fights … so on and so forth.

So different astrologers will predict some things consistently but their are other nuances which they won’t.
It’s just a big pile of superstion dressed up to look logical and scientific.

I know you don’t want debunking points but I can’t resist quoting Patrick Moore (Well I always thought it was him but I can’t find it attributed anywhere?). “A fat midwife would have a greater gravitational impact on a newborn baby than the distant stars.”

Exactly what I’d expect a Virgo to do.

[quote=“Musicat, post:11, topic:820220”]

[li]Use Barnum statements. Every statement should have two opposite parts, so the reader can identify with at least one. “You are a bold person, but sometimes you like to hang back.” How can you disagree with this? [/li][/QUOTE]

Correction - what you have described is the Rainbow Ruse.

Barnum statementsare something different. It’s a statement that seems personal, yet apply to many people.
[ul]
[li]“You have a box of old unsorted photographs in your house.”[/li][li]“You had an accident when you were a child involving water.”[/li][li]“You’re having problems with a friend or relative.”[/li][/ul]

I’ll bet I am the only person here who has actually written a horoscope column. I did so under a pseudonym and deep cover and the idea was to make people laugh.

I did consult a book–I think it was Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs–but that was mainly to get the dates right.

I made everything up. Example: CANCER: You will be tailgated by a blue pickup. Do not under any circumstances engage the driver of this vehicle! LEO: Mercury rising in your sign makes you extra skeptical this week so you won’t believe anything I say.

I wish I could remember some that were actually funny.

The weird thing is that every once in awhile someone would write in and say that the horoscope nailed it, even though it seemed obvious to me and I assumed to most readers that it was a crock.

As a general rule, newspapers don’t write the astrology columns they publish. They buy a syndicated column and print that.

I never wrote a horoscope column, but I once wrote a biorhythm program that printed out a chart for any starting and ending date, based on your birth date. I gave copies of this to several friends after telling them that I needed an accurate birth date to personalize it or it wouldn’t work. Then, before compiling the program, I added a “fudge factor” that I didn’t tell them about, a number that was added to the birth date before computation. Theoretically, any FF other than zero would make the computations wrong.

The ostensible purpose of the FF was: if anyone came back to me and said the chart was off by X days, I could look at the FF and declare, “My stars! I put the wrong number in there! Let me fix that and give you a new program,” then give them a new program with a different fudge factor.

I had no worries…every person I gave this to declared it to be amazingly accurate, even though each had a different fudge factor. And though all it would have taken was a calculator, no one ever checked the numbers to find the obvious error.

I think you underestimate the predilection humans have for fitting a pattern to anything. That’s how we get Elvis’ portrait in a grilled cheese sandwich.