I don’t believe in horoscopes, but I read some of them anyway. Recently, I read this one:
In accordance with the astrological omens, I
encourage you to move the furniture around. If you feel inspired, you
might even want to move some of that old stuff right out the door and
haul it to the dump or the thrift store. Hopefully, this will get you in the
mood to launch a sweeping purge of anything else that lowers the morale
and élan around the house: dusty mementoes, unflattering mirrors,
threadbare rugs, chipped dishes, and numbing symbols. The time is ripe,
my dear homies, to free your home of deadweight.
I can’t honestly say that the planets care whether or not Libras move their furniture and clean out their closets. One day the sun will expand obliterating our chipped dishes along with our cherished china. But a good clear out no matter what month you were born in is still a good idea.
When I read a horoscope, I’m looking for a reminder. Yes, that’s right. I do need to finish purging my closet and it does feel good to get rid of deadweight. A good clear out won’t bring me a book deal or sell my art, but it will give me more closet space. That’s a win!
When I was a kid, I read my mom’s copy of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs. Have you read it? I remember reading the passage about a Libra getting dressed in the morning, and my twelve-year-old self was struck by recognition. I did exactly what she wrote about. I’d known nothing about sun signs until I picked up that book, and suddenly, boom! This book understood me. The book was magic. I memorized it.
Now, I’ve forgotten most it. I no longer care what someone’s sign is, though I still read a horoscope when I see one. Most are poorly written and boring, which is a shame, but probably not too surprising. Sometimes, however, they’re like this:
Let’s meet in the woods after midnight and tell
each other stories about our origins, revealing the secrets we almost
forgot we had. Let’s sing the songs that electrified our emotions all those
years ago when we first fell in love with our lives. Starlight will glow on
our ancient faces. The fragrance of loam will seep into our voices like
rainwater feeding the trees’ roots. We’ll feel the earth turning on its axis,
and sense the rumble of future memories coming to greet us. We’ll join
hands, gaze into the dreams in each other’s eyes, and dive as deep as we
need to go to find hidden treasures.
What kind of horoscope is that? It doesn’t even tell me not to take a bus on Tuesday! It’s my favorite kind of horoscope.
Maybe I like horoscopes because I love stories and the imagination. I like magic and impossible things. Stars are made of hydrogen and helium. They have no intent other than to burn, and yet they’re drops of inspiration in the sky. You might look up and believe they’re pulling you into a frantic time of upheaval or you might look up and think about how maybe one day humans will reach them. I don’t think they’re pulling anyone into one mood or another, but taking time to gaze at them often seems good for one’s state of mind. What do we lose, after all, when we can’t see the stars because of crap we’ve thrown up into the sky? Who doesn’t find the stars beautiful? There are people who care not a jot for the stars, but those are not usually people I want to spend time with. What does it do to you if you never bother to look up?
I recently read an article about the rise of people believing in ridiculous things–believing in woo, in conspiracies, in junk science. The number of people who believe the earth is flat is, apparently, rising. What?! Why!? What makes people believe?
A favorite quote of mine from Shakespeare:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
There’s a lot we don’t know about the universe. And often that’s what we call magic. If you were to show a so-called smart phone to someone in 1692, likely you’d be hanged as a witch. They believed age spots and moles were marks from the devil when they wanted to hang someone. Now marks on the skin tell us cancer lurks within, which seems a type of devilry, to be sure. At least we work to save the person, not hang them.
I may not believe in horoscopes, but I believe in the magic of stories. Choose your stories wisely.
Thanks for reading!