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Opinion

Zodiac signs not to be taken as accurate descriptions of others

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November 2, 2016

Scorpio season is finally upon us, which means that I have begun to fantasize about my birthday cake, one of my favorite pastimes.

Really though, Scorpio season got me to thinking: Why do people set so much in store by their zodiac sign? And is a person’s zodiac sign an accurate representation of anything besides a range of time when that person’s birthday could fall? I tend to not think too much of horoscopes or of zodiac signs, so I set out to try and see if I could get myself to think a little more highly of this whole zodiac thing.

Since I have a Nov. 21 birthday and I therefore am a Scorpio, no matter how arbitrarily, I will be focusing my attention on this specific zodiac sign. So, let’s start with understanding the origin of the zodiac signs.

Earthsky.org defines the zodiac as fixed constellations that span the distance that the sun travels across the sky. The 12 zodiac signs that are commonly found in a horoscope refer to when “the sun appears to travel over the course of a year… Dates in a horoscope should correspond to when the sun passes through each constellation.” I found this easy enough to understand, but what Earthsky.org went on to say next caused me to pause.

Apparently, the constellations and the path of the sun are meant to match together. In reality, they actually do not, at least not anymore. Due to the constant motion of the Earth, our axis strays slightly, causing the zodiac constellations to no longer align with the sun. Today, “signs and constellations are about one calendar month off.” In fact, the last time everything was in sync was more than 2,000 years ago! Does that mean I am not even a “real” Scorpio then?

Before I dismiss my zodiac sign, what does being a Scorpio even entail? According to astrology-zodiac-signs.com, a Scorpio’s strengths are being resourceful, passionate and stubborn, and that we like the truth, being right and teasing.

Some of these traits make sense with each other, being resourceful and liking facts, and being stubborn and being right for example. But teasing? I see no rhyme or reason for why this quality is included in the general makeup of a Scorpio.

This same website also includes what I will call a disclaimer of sorts about a Scorpio person. “Some Scorpio-born can look older than they actually are… Scorpios hate dishonesty and they can be very jealous and suspicious…Scorpios are brave and therefore they have a lot of friends.”

I actually chuckled while reading through this paragraph of “information.” It seems to me that astrology-zodiac-signs.com sets a lot of who you are on solely based on the fact that you were born between Oct. 23 and Nov. 21.

Even though I do not quite match up to every trait of being a Scorpio, would my horoscope this week be any more promising or would it also be wildly inaccurate? For any person that does not know what a horoscope is, or have not yet taken a divination lesson from Professor Trelawney at Hogwarts, a horoscope is a sort of forecast of someone’s future using the positions of stars and planets at their birth.

Astrology.com had this to tell me about what to expect as a Scorpio this week: “[a] secret finds its way into your awareness on Monday or Tuesday…Midweek you may find you don’t have much patience…but by Friday you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who are genuinely interested in you…They practically idolize you. Saturday and Sunday you get a bit carried away with all the attention.” It seems like I am meant to have quite the week! But I think I can do without the idolizing part.

After all of this research, I have to report that I did not accomplish my goal of thinking more highly of my zodiac sign or of horoscopes, but to be fair I started off with a very low opinion of them.

What I can say is that I appreciate the astrological background of the zodiac and the mythology surrounding the constellations. But I cannot say that I attribute much more than that to my particular sign.

The way I look at it, zodiac signs are just another group in which to find a sense of belonging with and not as a way to predict what my friends think of me or what kind of person I am.

Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.