Aside from weather forecasting, although similarly accurate, the most popular form of fortune telling, available in newspapers, magazines, and a large variety of premium rate phone lines, is probably horoscopes. Although disguised by some guff about stars and planets, the underlying principle of astrology is that every single person in the world, all six billion of them, can be divided into one of only twelve personality types, essentially based on what month they were born in. This is clearly nonsense as, for a start, it’s already been scientifically proven that women fit into only one of five different personality types - posh, sporty, scary, baby or ginger - but not only that, the success of the whole industry does tend to rely on everyone reading them to fit into one specific personality type, that of the hugely gullible.
The ‘science‘, and we use the word in its loosest possible sense here, looser even than Amy Winehouse’s grip on reality, behind horoscopes claims that the relative movement of planets have a deep and abiding effect on your career, your downtime, and your lovelife, although this theory seems to have been extrapolated wildly after someone got a bit confused after hearing Mars’ old claims to help you work, rest and play. Indeed, given that if you’re the sort of person who actually takes astrology seriously it seems unlikely that people who actually know you care too much about how you live your life, so it’s hard to imagine a bunch of inanimate rocks, millions and millions of miles away whose only purpose in life is to go round and round in circles taking much of an interest in the minutiae of your promotion prospects and whether Thursday is a good day for romantic prospects for you.
In reality the whole industry is based solidly upon two factors, the vagueness of the predictions which allows them to get away with it and the insatiable urge of people to throw vast sums of money at premium rate phone lines which helps fund the practioners of the art, and it is a profitable business; any money which doesn’t go into drawing random lines on bits of paper and claiming that they’re star charts showing the passing of Mercury through Uranus - we couldn’t resist - goes straight into the pockets of the astrologer. For example, a typical reading might run “Capricorn: Today is a good day to keep your head down and get on with things. Sometimes the higher leaves aren’t worth stretching for. Red and seven for luck”, which covers pretty much everyone unless you’re a compulsive gambler or a giraffe, and a typical phone line runs at 60p a minute, minimum call time five minutes, please have your credit card handy.