Doubters know that sinking feeling when astrology comes up in social situations. It used to annoy me so much that I’d be prone to snippy responses like, “Oh, has the conversation turned to 4000-year-old Babylonian bullcrap?” There were times when I tried even dumber responses like logic, “Hmm, if there’s anything too astrology can you tell me why the Western and Eastern astrology would be so different? Stars are stars, after all.”
I handle things better now that I’m an Orion, so if you’ve even been tempted to pull the emergency dive lever when someone asks, “What’s your sign,” tell them you’re an Orion instead, it works like a charm. The two things working in this conversation’s favor are that Orion is a constellation that most people know, at least by name, and basic astronomy is something most haven’t a clue about.
“What’s your sign?”
“Why, I’m a Orion.” This instantly disarms them. Their heads may be packed with notions about Scorpios, Leos, Sagitarians and such, but they have no idea of what to say about an Orion, and the look on their faces will confirm it.
It’s important to keep the initiative here, “Have you ever heard of an Orion? Most people haven’t. It’s a pretty rare sign.” They will be speechless but curious at this point, so carry on, soldier, carry on.
“You know where the signs come from? They’re the constellations that the Sun passes in front of as the Earth revolves around it. That’s why they call it Sun sign astrology, you know, House of Pisces, House of Gemini, House of Whatever… The dates in astrology columns are the time the Sun takes to get from the start to end of an astrological constellation, about 28-30 days.” Of course they don’t know any of this, but they are quietly grateful that you’ve explained it—while you’re setting the hook.
“You know there are 365 days in a year, right, except every four years there’s a February 29th and 366-day leap years.” They do know this, but they don’t know why. Still, if you can get a nod of agreement here, it’s a reassuring touch.
“The calendar needs that extra day every four years because the Earth doesn’t go around the Sun in exactly 365 days. It’s more like 365 and one-quarter days. Every four years those quarters add up to an extra day and we make the adjustment to keep the calendar straight.” This works best if you’re sincere about it, which should be easy because all this is true, but now to reel in the fish.
“As it turns out, the Earth doesn’t revolve around the Sun in exactly 365 1/4 days either, it’s more like 365 1/4 days and 12 minutes, so every 120 years or so they have to put in a February 30th to account for those extra minutes. Every 120 years there is a February 29th and a February 30th. No big deal, but the last time that happened was the year I was born, and my birth certificate will tell you that I was indeed born at 1:37 AM on February 30th.”
Don’t give them time to think. You need to jump in with another answer, “I celebrate my birthday on February 28, just like people born on February 29th usually do, but here’s the strangest part. In most cases, it takes the Sun 28-30 days to pass through one constellation onto the next, but there’s one star between Aquarius and Pisces, I think it in Orion’s foot or something, so the Sun is actually in Orion’s foot for one or two days whenever the February 29th-30th combination rolls around. All of us born at that time are, according to the astrological charts, in the House of Orion.”
If you sell it right, this gets the astrology Jones out of their system, and now the topic can move on to better things.
So, what’s your sign? Or, would any astronomy buffs care to respond with a round of “Spot the Orion’s bullcrap?”