Words by John Fraser
If it can be systematized, it’s science (according to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary), hence astrology, which systematizes all of humanity into 12 convenient groups, is “science.” A “science” that claims that everyone is limited to 12 subsets, each with a rigid set of characteristics shared by all of those who happen to have been born into one of those 12 may stretch the imagination, but I suppose if your imagination lives in a vacuum, then stretching isn’t much of a chore.
When someone asks me about astrology, the conversation often goes like this:
“What’s your sign?”
“No, no—what’s your astrological sign?”
“No idea, but the traffic sign I like best is ‘yield.’ It’s not arbitrary, it kind of invites you into the decision-making process. Yes, I’m definitely a ‘yield.’”
“Any idea what your birthstone is?”
“No. We were too poor to have birthstones.”
“Everybody has a birthstone.”
“Well if I must have a birthstone, it would probably be gravel.”
“You’re not being serious.”
“How can you be serious about something as ridiculous as astrology?”
“Millions of people believe in it.”
“Millions believe in one brand of religion or another. Does that make any of it true?”
“Well at least astrologists don’t kill people who don’t buy into astrology.”
Being born on July 23 caused me to be a Leo. At least it did until about 20 years ago. I was born on the “cusp” of Leo, the very first date of an astrological sign, a hanger-oner, barely there. Leos are leaders, you know. They seek attention. They are fearless and sure-footed and convinced of their superiority; they seek the limelight as their own. “Come to me all ye who are heavy burdened and I will show you the way.”
I loved being a Leo.
One morning 20-odd years ago, I awoke to discover in the morning Globe that I’d been moved in the night to the last day of the sign of Cancer. Cancer, a comforter, a caring and sympathetic healer, was now directing my place among the planets. Cancers are true listeners, not just waiting for their turn to speak.
This demotion (in my mind) left me totally discombobulated; like going to bed in Canada and waking in England driving on the wrong side of the road. Imagine an AKC (All-Knowing Conservative) suddenly morphing into card-carrying Greenie. I went from John Wayne to Mother Teresa, from “shoot first, ask questions later” to “let’s discuss it.” This radical change to my zodiac sign left me dizzy.
What kind of science is this astrology? It’s the same kind of science that fathered the lotto—it gives us an engine to drive our dreams towards something better than our daily struggles. The odds of winning big with a lottery ticket are stacked astronomically against the buyer, yet we buy. Better the long odds than no chance at all, I suppose. So we read the horoscopes and share our forecast for the day with the tens of millions who share our sign.
Never mind the sign, my vibrations are good today. The bran kicked in, the morning paper landed on the porch (not the hedge), the sun threatens to shine and all seems right with the world. Think I’ll head over to the nearest Timmy’s, buy a coffee and roll up the rim.
John Fraser is a comedian, actor, speaker, special event causem celebre, general gad-about and recently a judge on Dancing with the Stars Mississauga. Need an entertaining speaker? He’s the guy for you! iloveaging.com | [email protected]