The Sign Of
I had been an astrologer
for very many years, diligently generating
predictions from the ancient charts for both
private clients and national periodicals.
For much of that time,
however, I had harboured an unspoken suspicion
that something was not quite right. It seemed to
me that predictions were frequently inaccurate -
in fact they were nearly always completely wrong.
I had, nevertheless, sworn
the Astrologers' Oath - a sacred vow to never
question the ancient wisdom and to shun the
pernicious beliefs of science. I therefore
rationalised my prophetic errors as being somehow
due to my clients living their lives incorrectly.
Then one day I made a
mistake while constructing a chart. The real
birthday of my subject was 3rd June and so I
should have been devising a horoscope for a star
sign of Gemini. I had incorrectly noted her birth
date as 3rd May, however, and so made my
predictions as if she had been born under Taurus.
Several months later, I learned that this chart
had been the most accurate I had ever produced.
Her husband had left her, her car had been stolen
and her house had burned down almost to the
minute of my forecasts.
Imagine my amazement and
confusion when I subsequently realised that I had
computed her chart for the wrong date. It was as
if her whole life had been reflected in the
heavens a month before she was born.
I recalculated the charts
for two of my relatives and for my next door
neighbour, deducting one month from their birth
dates. The new forecasts for my relatives showed
the same remarkable accuracy. If only I had
discovered this earlier and warned Uncle Arthur
against swimming at Shark Bay.
recalculation for my neighbour led to predictions
that were as incorrect as they had ever been. For
some reason, one could not deduct a month from 10th
December and get an accurate reading for a
Sagittarius by computing for a Scorpio.
Something strange was
clearly occurring on the celestial sphere, but to
discover what, I would have to break the
Astrologers' Oath by referring to the dangerous
and forbidden practice of astronomy.
I agonised over this for
many days before finally resolving to discover
I obtained photographs of
Patrick Moore, purchased similar clothes and had
my hair cut in a matching style. Thus disguised
as an astronomer, and without my mystic, topaz
pendant, I entered the bookshop of the Science
Hands slightly trembling
and with sweat on my brow, I selected an
encyclopaedia of astronomy and a set of star
charts from the shelves and then made my way to
As I reached the till, a
middle aged woman approached me.
Excuse me, she
said, glancing at my proposed purchases,
arent you that astrologer from the
no, I replied, attempting to feign
amusement. I dont believe in all that
superstitious nonsense.' I nodded towards the
books I was holding. Its astronomy
The woman eyed me
suspiciously. Fortunately, exactly at that moment,
she was distracted by a friend who wanted to show
her a Science Museum tea towel. I seized the
opportunity by quickly giving the girl on the
checkout forty pounds to cover my purchases,
telling her to keep the change, and then hurrying
towards the exit.
I was breathless and my
heart was pounding as I stood on the pavement of
Exhibition Road. I was nevertheless exhilarated.
The books I was holding put me in clear breach of
the Astrologers' Oath. I was probably, however,
the only astrologer in the world to possess an
encyclopaedia of astronomy and a set of modern
As soon as I got home I
locked the doors and spread the charts across the
floor. The ecliptic, or path of the sun across
the sky, was clearly marked. I began to note the
dates on which the sun entered and left each
constellation of the zodiac.
I was staggered. There was
virtually no correlation between the dates I
associated with the signs of the zodiac and the
dates when the sun was actually within those
constellations. I have reproduced below a table
of my original findings so that readers of this
testimony can see for themselves what I
I reached for my
encyclopaedia of astronomy for an explanation.
It appeared that the earth
wobbles on its axis such that, over thousands of
years, a line through the poles traces a circle
on the sky. The planet takes 25,800 years to
complete that circle. Astronomers call this
phenomenon "precession", and it causes
the apparent positions of the constellations in
the sky at any specific time of year to gradually
change. The astrological timings I had always
used were two thousand years out of date!
I was still reeling from
this revelation when a second fact became
apparent. The period that the sun was within any
specific constellation of the zodiac was not
around a calendar month. Depending on the
constellation, it varied from 7 to 45 days. Even
without the problem of precession, natal charts
would still be wildly inaccurate without
correcting for those durations!
Just when I thought that
matters could not become more dire for the
ancient art, I discovered the most devastating
new fact about the constellations of the zodiac.
There are thirteen!!
Between the 30th November
and 17th December the sun is in the constellation
of Ophiuchus. I had never heard of it!
I thought back to the
inaccuracy of the chart for my neighbour, George.
His birthday was on the 10th December. It was
small wonder that I had not been able to make
accurate predictions for him when he had been
born under a sign of the zodiac that was not even
in the almanac!
After such emotional
upheavals, the fact that there was neither a
constellation named Scorpio nor one named
Capricorn were but minor worries, the correct
names being Scorpius and Capricornus.
How could we have all
been so wrong? I thought as I gazed from my
office window at the sunlit garden. I then
suddenly realised that there was no direct way of
seeing where the sun was in relation to the
celestial sphere except during a total eclipse of
the sun. The stars were invisible when the sun
was in the sky. It would need astronomy and
mathematics to work it out. Why didnt
those bastard astronomers tell us!!
When I had recovered from
this onslaught of revelations, I decided to
investigate the sign of Ophiuchus more closely.
This was partly because I could then recalibrate
the chart for George, but also because I had been
born on 2nd December and so was also an Ophiuchus.
There was no guidance in
the astrological literature, so I chose to look
at the lives of those who had been born under
that sign and try to abstract the common features.
After many days of
correlating these to the actual position of the
sun as it moved through Ophiuchus, I felt ready
to recalculate a chart for George.
On the chart were all the
events he had described to me from his childhood.
I could see the day that he had moved-in next
door. I could see the day of his marriage to
Joyce, and then there was... I was stunned.
My thoughts returned to the
date two years previously when George had
reported that Joyce had left him. I had thought
it very brave of him to deal with his immediate
grief by putting all his efforts into making that
new concrete patio
Now it all made sense.
It was never discovered who
made the anonymous call to the police.
As for me, my chart showed
a comfortable retirement in the South of France
after winning the football pools twice, following
my discovery of how to accurately predict events
from the stars.
All this was, of course,
forty years ago. I thought it best not to mention
what I had found, or everybody would have been at
it. I thought the game was up, however, in the
mid 1990s when Ophiuchus began to be talked about.
There was even an article in Time magazine
in January 2011.
reactionary paranoia of fellow astrologers saved
the day. Rather than recalculating charts, most
treated discussion of precession and Ophiuchus as
yet another attack on the mystic art by ill-informed
scientists. They argued that the positions of the
constellations were irrelevant as predictions
were related to the seasons and the annual
movement of the sun. Even I thought that
this rather pushed the boundaries of credibility
as it argued, in effect, that astrology had
nothing to do with the stars.
So why am I revealing all
this now? Well, accurate astrological predictions
have served me very well, apart from perhaps
predicting just one thing that I would rather not
have known. That one thing has led me to share my
discovery with the world today.
Sadly, at 2.04 am tomorrow
morning my fatal heart attack will be
unpreventable. It has all been foretold in the
DATES TAKEN FROM MY
MODERN STAR CHARTS
Sign of the Zodiac
Sign of the Zodiac
||21 Mar - 19 Apr
||19 Apr - 13 May
||20 Apr - 20 May
||14 May - 19 Jun
||21 May - 20 Jun
||20 Jun - 20 Jul
||21 Jun - 22 Jul
||21 Jul - 9 Aug
||23 Jul - 22 Aug
||10 Aug - 15 Sep
||23 Aug - 22 Sep
||16 Sep - 30 Oct
||23 Sep - 22 Oct
||31 Oct - 22 Nov
||23 Oct - 21 Nov
||23 Nov - 29 Nov
||30 Nov - 17 Dec
||22 Nov - 21 Dec
||18 Dec - 18 Jan
||22 Dec - 19 Jan
||19 Jan - 15 Feb
||20 Jan - 18 Feb
||16 Feb 11
||19 Feb - 20 Mar
||12 Mar - 18 Apr