Monday, February 1, 2010
During my medic rotation where I'm taken from the copter to staff the ambulance (it's to keep current on things and really not a bad idea...Just a lot more work!) I had a patient ask me, on the way to the hospital, what my 'sign' was. She was a Gemini, she said, and her horoscope predicted a medical emergency...
I asked her whether she goes by the dates set over 2,000 years ago, or the actual sign she was born under?
Let me get this straight....The sky is divided into 12, 30 degree sections. (12 because there's usually 12 full moons in a year) Each of these sections of sky falls in the plane of the ecliptic where the sun, moon and planets transit. If you use your imagination, each of these zones has a group of stars that kind of resemble something that was around 2 millenia ago. So, when I was born, the sun shone through this group of stars, raining the attributes of that star formation down upon me. There are planets too. One is really bright, so it's given the attribute of 'beauty'. One is vaguely red, so looks a little like blood, so gives the attribute of 'war'. These planets wander in and out of 'my' constellation, so things about my life can be predicted by this.
Today's horoscope---"Good time for love affairs; you will be in great form, and look handsome. You will be full of energy, and take on the work of Hercules....All this from planets moving through a group of stars!
A few problems with this. First, the sun doesn't shine through the stars---they are very far away. Second, there has been precession over the last 2,000 years due to the earth's wobble, so you were most likely born under the constellation one before what you think you are; If you were born between Nov.29-Dec 17, you're actually born under the sign 'Ophiuchus'. So according to horoscope sites I'm a Taurus, though I was born 'under' Aries the ram. And what about comets? If a planet can move through and make me look handsome, how come a comet can pass through and it doesn't alter my horoscope one bit?
I tried to politely ask my patient some of these things. All she offered was, "I'd fully expect a Taurus to say something like that"