You ask the questions: Jonathan Cainer

(Such as: so, astrologer Jonathan Cainer, what do the stars hold for 2002? And can we hope for a better year than the last one?)
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The Independent Online

Jonathan Cainer was born in Surbiton in 1957. He left school at 15 with no qualifications and moved to the States in the early 1980s to manage a nightclub in LA. There he met a psychic poet called Charles John Quatro, who told him he would some day write an astrology column read by millions. Returning to England, Cainer enrolled at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London. His first astrological job was with Today newspaper which he joined in 1986. In 1992 he moved to the Daily Mail and in January 2000 to the Daily Express. In March this year, following the takeover of the Express by Richard Desmond, he moved to The Mirror.

As well as his column, Cainer has a phone service and an internet site, and has published a number of books, the most recent of which is Jonathan Cainer's Guide to the Zodiac (Piatkus Books). Cainer's wife died in a car crash in 1992. He has six children and lives in North Yorkshire.

What are the essential characteristics of a good astrologer?

Beth Green, Exeter

Eye for detail. Ear for cosmic harmony. Nose for trouble. Head for figures. Sense of humour. Sense of awe. Sense of realism. Humility.

Is there any scientific rationale to astrology?

Paul Arthurs, London

Some say there is a scientific rationale and some say there isn't. I say who cares? It works. What else matters?

What star sign is Osama bin Laden? What's your prognosis for him for the coming year?

J Milne, Edinburgh

There are at least three different "official" birth dates for Mr L. He could be a Pisces, born in 1956, or a Leo, born in 1957 – fairly close in time to Madonna! I don't foresee that we will have the opportunity in 2002 to ask him when he was born – or indeed, anything.

According to your website you have on sale an Astro Fashion Profile (price £20). Do you worry that flogging this kind of thing will tarnish your good name?

Jenny Walsh, by email

The creator of this service is Pat Harris, one of the country's finest practitioners. I got several people to test her Fashion Profile – and they all gave it glowing reports.

What do the stars promise for the coming year? Can I hope for a better one than 2001?

Mrs F Wilson, Brighton

The second half of 2002 will be much lighter for just about everyone. The first half though, will probably put most of us through the inner wringer, one way or another, at times.

Mystic Meg: genius or fraud?

Jill Glass, Chester

Undisputed mistress of a great gipsy genre. If you want "end of the pier", hammed up to perfection, she's your girl.

How can one-twelfth of the population be going through the same thing as me simply because they were born in October?

Joanne Barker, Norwich

You will have some things in common with the folk who share your sign, just as you will with people who have the same cultural background as you. If it is possible to generalise about American or middle-class people, why not about Geminis?

Do you believe in the "otherworldly"?

James Stevenson, Devon

Before Melanie (my wife) died, I would have answered this with an emphatic no. Now, I answer it with an emphatic yes. But it's a very subtle thing. You have to be willing to listen and to suspend all disbelief.

The several thousand victims of the 11 September tragedy were presumably divided into the 12 Zodiac signs. Shouldn't all star signs have been given some warning of the disaster?

Catherine Garland, by email

My predecessors were sure that if you drew up a full personal horoscope you could see your date of death. My contemporaries know too much about self-fulfilling prophecy.

If the answers are written in the stars why should we have to pay for the pleasure of hearing them?

Peter Bovis, Colchester

You don't have to pay. You can study the subject yourself.

 

The calender was changed in the 18th century. Surely a lot of us are reading the wrong star signs.

Caroline Boyle, London

When we switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, the dates of the zodiac signs were switched too.

How do you write your Mirror stars? Do you have a team of people?

Ollie Young, Bristol

I sit at my laptop with my ephemeris open by my side. I open a pack of gum and stick Oscar Peterson on the stereo. I do have a team of people working with me on various projects. But I do ALL the writing myself.

How much do you earn and how do you like to spend it?

Liz Gilbert, by email

I earn a lot more than Blair but a lot less than Beckham. I like to think that I spend it more as Tony would than as David does.

How do I go about becoming an astrologer?

Brian Delaney, London

Contact the Faculty of Astrological Studies (BM 7470, London WC1N 3XX, www.astrology.org.uk).

Do you read your own chart and "advise" yourself?

Polly Devonshire, Kent

No. Doctors shouldn't diagnose themselves or their kids. Same reason. Too close to home.

Do you believe in destiny?

Iain Greene, Sussex

No. I believe in opportunity. In optimism. In kindness. In wisdom. In consciousness. In natural justice. And in bloody hard work.

For Jonathan Cainer's forecasts call 0906 6012345. Calls cost 60p per minute.

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