One marvel of the digital revolution is instant onscreen access to the free daily predictions of the world's foremost astrologers.

Once upon a time newspapers had to be bought to obtain daily forecasts (and frequently they led readers astray because notoriously cynical grumpy old sub-editors scorned any necessity to publish on correct dates, or worse, made up missing horoscopes to meet deadlines).

Since internet search engines arrived however, leading global astrologers can be consulted over breakfast for a heads-up on each day.

Don't get me wrong. Not a believer, I am equally sceptical of astrology, religion, science or any other self-proclaimed authority and a firm advocate of questioning everything.


But, just as fondly I imagined my late mother partying up in heaven on Mother's Day with her many sisters, laughing, dressed up to the nines and all talking at once, while at the same time knowing there is no such place as heaven, there is comfort in the delusional notion that the celestial ballet might sway our sometimes seemingly helpless grief-stricken mortal toil.

It was a shock last week though when I opened the online forecast of one of six whose predictions I consult regularly - astrologer Jonathan Cainer, who had spent months ruminating on the astrological subtext behind the recent rash of unexpected celebrity deaths, something to do with slow Pluto (deep dark power), still in Capricorn ever since it was discovered in 1930, going retro after the last of a series of bruising antagonistic alignments with Uranus (awareness) - only to find he'd died of a heart attack overnight, aged 58.

Reportedly the highest paid writer in British journalism, Cainer left school at 15, studied sex drugs and rock and roll and then while working as a struggling session musician met a psychic poet who predicted he would become a media columnist read by millions.

Subsequently he took a Diploma in Astrological Studies in London and the rest is history.

His own prediction for the day he died was described in obituaries as uncannily prescient; "We aren't here for long. We should make the most of every moment. We all understand this yet don't we forget it many times? We get caught up in battles, missions and desires.

We imagine that we have forever and a day. In one way we may be right - for are we not eternal spirits temporarily residing in finite physical form?"

Cainer specialised in entertaining lyrical vagaries which could be taken any way you like.
The digital revolution has drawbacks too though.

For instance ubiquitous keyboards have made handwriting all but obsolete.


Because writing by hand - making meaningful bravura calligraphic loops, swirls, curves and serifs on paper - is far superior brain exercise than stabbing at buttons, thereby improving spatial organisation, dexterity and hand/eye co-ordination and programming the memory, I take the opportunity to write down each morning's astrological predictions, longhand on a nice clean unlined sheet of A4.

That way I find that even if the horoscopes are way off beam, assessing the quality of the resulting page of handwriting for slope, consistency, layout and accuracy is a thoroughly reliable guide as to how the day might proceed.