Friday, March 19, 2010

Questions for the Would-Be Astrologer

I was guiding a patron over to the 133.cuckoo section because she wanted a book on Astrology. (Ah, evergreen Astrology! Feng Shui, Nostradamus and 2012 will be gone and forgotten and you shall still be pumping up our circulation statistics!) While we strolled back into the stacks, she told me that our lives were guided by the stars. And the planets. I did not want to get into it with her. I just made some noncommittal sounds. These are the same sounds I make when I show people where the romance novels or religion books are and they want to talk about them, too. Luckily we had Astrology for Dummies (never before was a book so aptly named) and a few other choice titles in the field.

But I did want to ask a few questions. Like: do all the planets have an effect on us, or only those planets that ancient people could see and thought were planets, like the moon? Did the moon stop influencing us in the same way when people stopped thinking about it as another planet? There are something like 170 moons and counting according to the Planetary Society. Do all these moons influence human destiny, or just the one parked next door? If all planets have an effect on us, how have astrological tables been changed when new planets are discovered? Did they change again when it was scientifically determined (by vote, the most scientific method known to humanity) that Pluto was just an imposter? And what of the stars? Is it the visible light of the stars that influences our destiny, or is it something else? In other words, does the radiation emitted by a distant, flaming ball of gas determine our fates immediately, or does the determination only occur when we are able to perceive this radiation after it travels unimaginably long distances over unimaginably long periods of time?

As you can see, I'm not a big astrology fan. But, then again, I'm a Virgo and we tend to question things.

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