The study of the zodiac and the calendar to predict the course of human affairs, usually with a detailed character study of the person involved (as determined by his or her birthchart), although being a highly developed art, is regarded as superstition in most developed countries, and not a reliable science.
From ancient times to the 18th century, astrology was considered a legitimate science.
Fortune-telling is a traditional occupation of gypsies and other peoples. Horoscopes are popular in daily, weekly, monthly and other journals in developed countries. Skilled astrologists practice in many countries, but usually do not publicize their activities. Prominent coverage has been given to the astrologer associated with USA's President Reagan, through his wife, during the period 1981-88. The astrologer in question claims to have influenced many presidential policy decisions. An increasing number of sophisticated investors are reported to be acting upon the advice of astrologers, although it is suggested that such advice should be treated as but one factor in a range of relevant information. In Chinese culture, since birth in particular years of the Chinese horoscope is considered especially auspicious (such as the Year of the Snake), this has a significant influence on the birth rate within any year.