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Newspaper horoscopes, whether printed or online, continue to attract millions of readers every day – but why?

We know Man has been fascinated with stars and planets since he first set eyes upon them. Astronomers don’t dispute that fact, either. But in terms of what we know about astrology today, compared to centuries ago, things haven’t changed much. Well, in some ways anyway.

Long ago, if you asked an astrologer what sign you were, you would be told your Moon Sign, not your Sun Sign. Many Eastern astrologers adopt this philosophy. Astrologers provided answers for people considered privileged. Such answers sometimes involved determining who had stolen a cow or sheep or if a certain day was suitable for a journey. You can imagine how nervous the astrologer was answering such questions. However, they often did with amazing accuracy!

Registering Birth Details

In 1837, the Registration Act came into effect, making it a legal requirement to record all birth details. This meant people other than the ‘great and good’ could have personal horoscopes done. Although astrology became more commonplace, charts still incorporated Moon Signs, not Sun Signs.

First Newspaper Horoscopes

That changed in 1930, when The Sunday Express printed a weekly column written by an astrologer named R.H Naylor. He achieved notoriety by predicting the crash of an airship and public interest in astrology soared. It escalated further when Naylor wrote an article entitled ‘What the Stars Foretell’ for Express readers. Its success marked the beginning of astrological forecasts appearing in printed media forever after.

Newspaper Horoscopes Sold More Papers

The Express had to address one issue if it was to expand upon this success. Publishers were keen to give readers what they wanted because happy readers resulted in more papers sold. However, giving readers detailed forecasts based on birth details would require several pages published each day to allow readers to determine their Moon Sign. This impractical option meant Sun Sign horoscopes appeared instead. Because the Sun follows the same path month on month, year on year, it made more sense to print twelve forecasts instead of thousands, therefore saving considerable time, space and money.

It didn’t take long for other newspapers around the world to catch on, and the rest, as they say, is history…