Is our future really written in the stars?

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Is our future really written in the stars?

Mercury is retrograde which, according to important people such as Jonathan Cainer and my yoga teacher, is a really bad thing. Might as well stay in bed until 12 September when things go back to normal.

I mention all of this only because all things zodiac have been preoccupying many Psychologies readers lately. Isabelle Taubes' article, Why We’re Hooked on Horoscopes, which ran in the August issue has prompted a big response.

My editor — a Leo, wouldn't you know — is sceptical. 'Surely no one believes in that stuff!'

Most of my rational-minded colleagues are of the same opinion, and glaze over when I point out the spookiness of a features desk made up entirely of fire and air signs. That's the problem with expressing even a passing interest in astrology — you instantly mark yourself out as a hippy-dippy, crystal-gazing flake. At least I have an excuse.

I grew up hearing about auspicious birth charts and predictions gone awry from the Indian side of my family, an impression only intensified by brilliant novels where horoscopes play a pivotal role such as Home by Manju Kapur. On the subcontinent, a consultation with an astrologer is about as out-there as a trip to Asda. So while my logical brain tells me it’s all mumbo jumbo, that astrologers routinely fail to correctly predict the outcomes of elections or impending financial doom, a stubborn part of me continues to retain a strong interest in the subject.

'What’s his moon sign?' I ask a zodiac-minded friend, and then, before I can reel the words back in. 'Oooh moon in Capricorn, that’s bad, like John Major, or Hitler.' My friend is not best pleased. 

At least I'm in good company. Carl Jung, no less, was into astrology. So too were DH Lawrence, Isaac Newton, Carl Sagan and, er, Nancy Reagan… not to mention many of our readers. 'An astrological chart reflects a person’s innate tendency toward specific patterns, in relationships, families and stress,' writes one reader, although she does point out that 'sun sign columns are indeed nonsensical.' I'm sure she's right, but just let me check my stars for today…