Can horoscopes actually predict your future?

September 6, 2021 — by Jonny Luo

Whenever I think about astrology, I always envision Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. I imagine an old, tremulous woman rambling on about crystal balls, then looking into a cup of tea leaves and telling me that I have the Grim (insert spooky voice). Professor Trelawney taught Divination, but it’s close enough to astrology, which is the study of celestial bodies and how they reflect in our lives. 

Like Harry and Ron, I have a very shallow knowledge of astrology; I just know that I’m a Scorpio.

As a newcomer to astrology, I had trouble making sense of my complicated birth-chart and what different celestial bodies supposedly represent. The specific traits of a Scorpio vary based on which website you look at, but they give similar impressions: I quickly learned that as a Scorpio, I’m supposed to be resourceful, passionate and brave, while also being jealous, manipulative and violent.

I fit most of the positive qualities; for example, when I have a problem, I’m generally quite good at finding the solution to that problem because I can use my creativity to MacGyver my way out. I’m also very passionate about my hobbies such as baking and gardening. However, I’m not particularly brave. I always pictured myself as a Gryffindor when I was younger, but even if I was, I’d probably be the Nevile Longbottom kind:  I’m still scared of spiders, and run in fear when I spot one lurking in a corner. 

While I identified with most of the positive Scorpio traits, only some of the negative qualities apply to me (hopefully). I am sometimes jealous of others, especially academically, but I also tend to be quite calm, and I don’t think I have enough life experience to know if I’m manipulative or not. 

Just as with my zodiac sign, I also experienced mixed results when reading my daily horoscope. I read my daily horoscope for an entire week on Vice.com, which I found on Apple News, and I found that its predictions were — at best — only somewhat true. 

I first started reading my daily horoscope on a smoky Sunday morning. According to that day’s horoscope, I would better understand my need for rest, “connect with my roots” and, best of all, have some “flirtatious fun.”

To my surprise, the horoscope was somewhat accurate. I rested and “connected with my roots” by watching my childhood cartoons the entire day. However, I didn’t really have any “flirtatious fun” as the horoscope predicted. 

What a disappointment. 

In the following week, I settled into a routine: I would read my horoscope in the morning, go about my day, then read it again at the end of the day, taking notes of what came true and what didn’t. 

At the end of my experiment with horoscopes, I had mixed feelings.

The predictions were often extremely vague, open to so many interpretations that they essentially could apply to anyone. One horoscope said that, during my day, “easy energy flows around” — what does that even mean? 

I could think of plenty of different interpretations of that. It could mean that I hang out with some easy-going friends, or I can go easy on myself and relax during the day. 

The horoscopes simply predicted a wide variety of things in hopes that one would come true. On most days, only one or two predictions came true, while the rest were completely off. And on the days where the horoscopes were shorter than usual, they generally failed to make a single accurate prediction. 

Many of the horoscopes held some truth to their predictions, which I attribute to the Barnum effect — the tendency to accept information as true, even though the information is so vague that it becomes worthless. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that when taking online personality tests.

But I found that reading my horoscopes at the end of the day helped me recap my day and think about all that I did. It was sort of like journaling, but faster and easier, with a baseline to bounce the events of the day off of. 

In the future, I don’t think I’ll ever be reading any horoscopes again. Even though astrology is a pseudoscience, it’s still fun to see what my future supposedly holds. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll have that “flirtatious fun” I was promised.