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Kathmandu:- by Alexandra S Levine | When Saturn moves to Capricorn from Sagittarius in December — an occurrence that happens only once every 29 years — Eric Francis Coppolino, a writer for an American newspaper, will need to explain to readers what the shift means for their lives.
"It's like a carefully timed fortune cookie," he said of the horoscope column he would write, "only a little longer. When it's meaningful, when it answers something that you're wondering, it can light up your mind." Astrology has long had its believers and its cynics, but for a craft so often criticised for being nonscientific and, in some cases, fraudulent, horoscopes still cover the pages and websites of publications across the globe.
One appeal is that they offer some order in an otherwise volatile world, said Galit Atlas, a clinical assistant professor at New York University's postdoctoral programme in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. "What makes us feel safe in the world is order, boundaries and sequence, and those three things are things that astrology can give us," Atlas said. "Especially in a time when the world doesn't feel safe, we tend to search for an order that makes sense."
Astrology is believed to have first appeared in ancient Babylon some 4,000 years ago. But as a written art in newspapers and magazines, the practice is comparatively new — about a century old. (The first horoscope column in a major newspaper graced the pages of The Sunday Express in London in 1930.) There is no formal schooling to be an interpreter of the stars. But there are well-known newspaper horoscope columnists, like the English astrologer Patric Walker, who have mentored New York writers. His work also inspired Coppolino to shift from shoe-leather reporting to covering the planets.
For 23 years, Coppolino has been writing what he describes as "news astrology", or reporting on current events through the lens of planets, houses and signs. The first major story he covered using astrology was the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton in the1990s.
More recently, he has used astrology to help him interpret news of three hurricanes, North Korea, and the terrorist truck attack in NY. He studied the time and place of the truck attack (an "event chart") to examine questions about the driver, and how the tragedy happened. The chart, "like an objective map to the situation", pointed to "sexual agony, loneliness and a sense of being homesick," as part of the attacker's motivation, he wrote. But not everyone sees horoscopes as providing legitimate answers to life's questions.
John Marchesella, president of the NYC chapter of the National Council for Geocosmic Research, a nonprofit group that promotes astrological education for professional astrologers, dismissed horoscope writing as amateur, comparing it to "junk food". But Rebecca Gordon, an astrology columnist for a magazine, disagrees. She described horoscope columns as a way to promote astrology. "That's how most people find out that astrology exists," she said. (Times of India)
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