Sign of the Times


Sign of the Times by Chris Green


Some years ago the Chinese surreptitiously replaced the Year of the Cat in their astrological calendar with the Year of the Rabbit. The story goes that they wanted all the zodiac animals to get along and the rabbit was more compatible with the rat than the cat was. I was disappointed by the move as I was born in the Year of the Cat and I saw the rabbit as a less prestigious animal. After all, cats are bold noble creatures; rabbits are jittery frightened little animals with no dignity at all. The Vietnamese, whose calendar follows the same pattern as the Chinese, still call it the Year of the Cat, their argument being that it helps to offset The Year of The Dog, yin and yang and all that, but then you don’t hear too much about the Vietnamese new year compared to that of the Chinese, in my neck of the woods.

Let’s move the story on. Isn’t it time to change one of the signs of the western Zodiac? The current twelve sun signs each occupying thirty degrees of celestial longitude have been around for three thousand years. They are an anachronism. Surely they too must be due for a refresh. If done in the past this might have been done by introducing something mythological, in fact in the 1970s there was a move to introduce a thirteenth sign, Ophiuchus, the serpent carrier. It was to be slotted in November and December and the other signs rearranged. Virgo was to cover forty three days as a result and Scorpio just six days. The new proposal did not catch on with astrologers. It would have caused havoc with their popular newspaper columns. Mathematically there could only be twelve signs they maintained; this much was obvious. Thirteen into 360 did not go.

The change now could be the subject of a Facebook poll. Facebook is international. The question might be ‘which astrological sign would you like to replace?’ or something like this. Which one I wonder would get the chop?

Although we live an urban existence in a technological society, three of the signs, Aires, Taurus and Capricorn are still named after farm animals, reflecting the values of a bygone age. With people yearning for the mythical green and pleasant land, this might work in their favour of course, or it might work against them. One of them (Scorpio) is named after an insect and another (Cancer) a crab. I suspect that they would be among the contenders for replacement. Cancer of course has more sinister connotations, so it could possibly be the bookies’ favourite. I imagine Leo would be safe; except for a small group of hard hearted big game hunters, people like lions. Libra would stay, after all, Libra is well balanced. The cynical might suggest that as a sign of the times, the archer (Sagittarius) be replaced by the sniper. There’s nothing very twenty-first century about the idea of water carriers (Aquarius), or for that matter, virgins (Virgo). They might be at risk. It’s a tough call. The fishes (Pisces) and the twins (Gemini)? No, they would probably be all right. Fishes would rally a lot of Christians, and twins, well people like the idea of twins don’t they?


The internet spreads things quickly. The debate went viral. There has been a Facebook vote. Did you miss it?

Patti was born in Cancer and although she is pleased with her given traits, she cannot escape the rogue morbid thought each time she is asked what sign she is. She voted to replace Cancer with a new sign. She is pleased that the results are in. Cancer just pipped Virgo into second place, with Scorpio a distant third. Her partner is disappointed however as he is a Virgo. In all, 293 million people took part in the vote. Now there is a second question to be answered, ‘What would you like the new sign to be?’

It is on all the popular social media. It is a multiple choice question and there are six options: Tesco, the food provider, Apple, the communicator, Boeing, the traveller, Barclay, the money lender, Beyonce, the hit-maker and Snowden, the whistle blower. All you do is click on like and you are allowed one vote. Although the campaigns are anonymous you cannot help to suspect that vested interests are driving them.

Patti looks at the list with an air of disbelief. She wonders whether whoever has compiled it has taken into consideration the characteristics of Cancers, their homeliness and their preoccupation with family, the crawling back into one’s shell when this is threatened. If astrology is to be given any credibility then these essential attributes cannot just be erased. Her friend, Bee who is a Pisces, like Cancer, also a water sign, wonders whether the elements can be ignored. What connection is there between Boeing and water for instance? Patti wonders if she should mention the missing jet and the search for it in the Southern Ocean.

There is speculation about whether the plane was deliberately brought down. Popular opinion seems to be that it is at the bottom of the ocean. There are a number of other theories. It landed in the Andaman Islands. It flew to Kazakhstan. It was flown towards Langkawi island because of a fire or other malfunction. The plane is in Pakistan. The passengers were deliberately killed by decompression. The plane will take off again to be used in a terrorist attack. Twenty employees of Texas-based technology company Freescale Semiconductor were on board, four of them were patent holders for a revolutionary new semiconductor. The remaining patent holder stands to benefit. Which of these explanations is the correct one? Perhaps none of them. We may never be told the truth.

Its a sign of the times.

© Chris Green 2014: All rights reserved


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