Whenever I see an astrology account online, I think longingly of the days when the cosmic divination system wasn’t everywhere. Of the golden years when most people didn’t have multiple horoscope apps on their phones. When you didn’t have to tell a prospective date your sun sign as a measure of compatibility. When you could start a fight in a bar without people saying knowingly: Ahh, big Scorpio energy. (There was a time in which, if you said that, you would be laughed at by most reasonable members of society.) The intense rise of astrology in the last few years has been extremely distressing to me.
Let me be clear: I’m not upset that other people believe in astrology. I’m upset because it’s never accurate about ME.
I love the idea of astrology. Who doesn’t want to assign meaning to the fact that Venus is in retrograde? It’s the perfect explanation of why you’re having a breakdown in the work bathroom, or why you got ghosted by that guy before you slept with him. Not only is it a highly comforting framework in an uncertain world, but it’s a wonderful distraction: it has a low barrier to entry and is not primarily populated by mansplainy dudes. I long to become an Astrology Girl: the kind who says cool things like “Jupiter is in the ascendant” and “Mars is in the 12th house.”
Best of all, you get to embrace the mythology of your sun sign. Suddenly, you’re a member of a tribe and can discuss how much you all hate “Gemini slander.” You can identify a bad habit and — this is the good bit — instead of addressing it. You can shrug off your misdeeds and chalk them up to being a Virgo thing. It’s way more fun than therapy, and it’s free.
But I don’t get to do that, because I’m a Cancer. Cancers are weepers. We are supposedly the ones who have the monopoly on empathy. We are the softies of the zodiac. The natural moms. We are the ones who are in love with love. If you ask the internet, Cancer is definitely the sign most likely to blurt out “I love you” on a first date.
There’s one major problem with me being a Cancer: it’s fundamentally opposed to my personality type. As a person who has never double-texted in her life, I can definitively say that I am not the Stage 5 clinger that astrology insists I am. I’m not easily able to discuss my emotions with people. I’m not the “mom friend” of the group, and I hate cooking almost as much as I hate burrowing into my blankets on Friday nights. I simply don’t identify with my sign, and therefore can’t have fun with astrology.
But when I try to tell astrology believers this, they are unfazed. They hit me with: “Well, maybe you identify more with your moon sign. You have to take that into account too, you know. And your rising sign. Actually, it also depends on your time of birth, which latitude and longitude you were in, etc… Astrology is complicated!”
Um, I thought the point of astrology was that it wasn’t complicated. I didn’t sign up for a nuanced, complex system of belief. (What do you think this is, Jainism?) I’m just looking for a hobby, something to make memes out of. I don’t have the time to calculate the various alignments of planets for hours, merely to deduce that “sometimes Leos are egotistical, but they also have the capacity to be selfless.” I prefer my astrology reductive. I’m trying to get into horoscopes so I have something to read on my commute.
That’s my other issue with astrology. The grand dame of astrology, Susan Miller of astrologyzone.com, is always wrong about me. She gives me elaborate relationship advice when I’m single, and tells me how to handle a difficult boss when I’m on holiday. She’s always off about what I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and what’s going on in my life.
And she’s not the only one. Every time I check StarZone, or Signs4Dummies, or whatever astrology sites are trendy at a particular moment, I can’t find anything that might even be in the ballpark of accurate about my life. Sometimes there’s a stray Barnum prediction — something like “You are likely to be stressed out at work this week” — which lands and makes me hopeful, but then the next line is always something about “This is a good month if you’re trying to get pregnant.” (I never am, StarZone!) The ratio of relevant to irrelevant is too low for me to invest much time in reading horoscopes. The vague ones are too vague to be interesting, and the specific ones too specific to be accurate.
I guess I’m just mad because I want to be a part of something, and I can’t be. When I see a group of girls trying to figure out what sign somebody’s crush is, or arguing over which sign of the zodiac is the worst to date, I feel a strong urge to check my horoscope once again. Why can’t today be the day I find something relatable, something that explains a previously mysterious facet of my personality? It kills me.
Or maybe that’s just that Cancer sensitivity.
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