Stars in your eyes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2008, 12:00am

Is the Year of the Rat when you finally get married, become a millionaire or move overseas? Tony Tan and Shelley von Strunckel consult the Chinese and western horoscopes to see what's in store in the next 12 months.

French philosopher Voltaire once compared astrology and astronomy and described the former as 'the mad daughter of a wise mother'. Despite such scepticism, astrology has become a multibillion-dollar industry. To some, this is like finding that the flat-earth society has become a major corporation and is raking in cash with forecasts of doom for anybody who dares to venture over the horizon. To others, charting their fortunes on the basis of how the stars are aligned is as sensible as using a watch to tell the time.

Even those who scoff at astrology become fascinated when they identify personality traits in the characteristics of their star sign. Astrology's reach is more extensive than most imagine. Take the flu, a word derived from influenza, itself based on the Medieval Latin word influentia - ancient doctors used the word for the ravages cause by the virus because they believed that sufferers were under the influence of hostile constellations.

While western and Chinese astrology both arrive at a prediction of future fortunes, they are otherwise as similar as silk and sand - while both may run smoothly through one's fingers the patterns they leave on the floor are entirely different. The popularity of each derives not from their forecasting accuracy but from the fact the future is an uncertain place that fills many people with foreboding. Thus, Post Magazine presents this year's Chinese and western horoscopes, along with the celebrities who make their respective star signs famous - or is it the other way around?