A form of populist astrology found in newspapers and magazines which meets the popular demand for entertainment and predictions concerning future events. Newspaper horoscopes give very generalised predictions and behavioural tips which are supposedly valid for all those who have the same star sign. The vague character of the predictions made means that they are essentially irrelevant. Sun-sign columns, notwithstanding, are often the most widely read part of the newspapers.
Opponents of astrology often show their ignorance of the subject by using newspaper horoscopes to discredit astrology.
Usually the horoscopes are based upon setting the sun sign in the first house, and then reading the remaining signs in a whole sign house system. For example, with Pisces set as the First House, Jupiter in Virgo as the Seventh House could be read as a marriage indicator for Pisceans in the coming month. A popular astrologer will also try to write to the sun-signs in terms she believes they will best understand. For example, the notion of change due to a Uranus transit might worry a stability-loving Taurean, yet excite an adventuresome Aries.
As a reaction to the growing interest in serious astrology, some publications now include additional information such as lunar horoscopes or the threefold division of zodiac signs into decans in order to be a little more specific in their predictions. Many print media have started offering predictions for the coming year on the same generalised basis which are so substantial that they are sometimes published separately in a special section. However, this does not change the fundamental problem - the lack of reference to the natal chart.
Another form of newspaper horoscope which often appears around the time of New Year is the celebrity horoscope with - in contrast to the usual vague predictions and tips - concrete predictions for the coming year (marriage, pregnancy, divorces, success, failure). Based on the exceptionally poor rate of success for tabloid predictions it would appear that their inclusion is purely for entertainment - something which the astrologers involved admit is the case.
Newspaper horoscopes have nothing to do with a true horoscope based on the individual's date, time, and location of birth, which is the foundation for any serious study of astrology. They also cause a lot of confusion. Many people equate newspaper horoscopes with astrology and believe that astrology means nothing more than believing newspaper astrology columns.
Notes and References
- Artist: Carl Zewy, 1929.
- Garry Phillipson, 2000, Astrology in the Year Zero, Flare Publications, pp.25-43.