Monday, January 23, 2006

If the deer don't nibble

A last cheap shot at astrology. A poem by the 6th century A.D. Greek poet Agathias tells of a farmer, Kalligenes, who consults an "astrologer" about his crops:

The astrologer cast his stones across the board,
Studied them, wiggled his fingers and said:
"If, Kalligenes, there is rain enough
On enough of your land, and if the weeds
Don't take over, nor frost wreck the lot,
If a hailstorm doesn't knock it all flat,
If the deer don't nibble, if no calamity
Up from the earth or down from the sky
Occurs, the signs show a good harvest.
Unless there's a plague of grasshoppers."

I once had my birth chart done by a professional astrologer. She labored long over ephemerides and graphs, then told me I was sensitive, intelligent, basically generous but sometimes a bit self-indulgent, inclined towards optimism, but subject to occasional bouts of feeling low. Wow! Right on!