Sometimes, I get anxious. I want all of the answers that life does not yet want to give to me — and don’t we all? When confused, nervous, or eagerly anticipatory about the future, I talk to a friend. I talk to myself on long walks. I journal. But as calming as these personal self-expressions can be, sometimes I need to believe someone or something else — anything else — actually has the answers I’m looking for, or at least some good advice I can count on.
So where do I, an otherwise confident young man, go for shit like that? The horoscopes.
I never really understood the gendered stereotypes associated with reading one's horoscope. Are men trying to become the purveyors of capital-T Truth again like it’s 19th-century Europe? Sure, more women are graduating with undergraduate and graduate degrees than men these days, but astrology? How silly the female species is, ah-ah-ah!
No, astrology is not a real science. The knowledge divined by astrology is not the result of repeated experiments and peer-reviewed studies. But what's so crazy about finding it plausible that the universe’s largest bodies, made up of the same stuff as us, affect us?
The moon, as relatively small as it is, directly affects 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. The Sun, as far away as it is, can fuck up our plans, seasons, and moods with its presence or lack thereof; its intense gravitational pull attracts balls of floating elements unimaginably bigger than Earth and hundreds of millions of miles further away. Why, then, couldn't Venus encourage me to flirt more when it’s in a certain position relative to Earth? If the gravity, energy, and positioning of all these bodies in space can move the oceans, change the weather, and keep our planet in orbit, what makes us think we’re so immune to their effects? Does our sentience make us too special to be touched by anything outside of ourselves and other humans?
As much as I think there’s a case for astrology, I don’t live by it (and I really hope you don’t, either). But done in moderation, there’s a lot to gain from reading a basic sun sign horoscope.
For one, people who write horoscopes really be lookin’ out for you. When I do indulge in some readings, I tear through the first five to seven links I see on Google’s first page of results (skipping sites that aren’t specifically astrology sites). I’ve never run into a reading that didn’t give me a productive suggestion on how to make the best out of my day/week/month. Regardless of how Mercury’s retrograde is gonna fuck me up, or how unavoidable my financial issues are going to be thanks to Saturn, horoscope readings are meant to prime you for what life may throw at you, then advise you on how to take full advantage of your situation. Whether it’s learning a lesson, jumping on opportunities, or simply enjoying what’s coming your way, horoscope readings never leave me hanging.
Secondly, horoscopes let you decide for yourself whether or not they are applicable to your life. Whether you think Jupiter landing in your house of luck is cause for celebration or complete bullshit, a horoscope reading is there to simply say there’s a possibility certain things may happen to you or around you in the near future. If one of these predicted shifts or occurrences doesn’t happen, you simply disregard the reading. If one of them does in fact happen, a horoscope then gives you a variety of advice based what it thinks your personality strengths and flaws are. Again, if its assumptions about you that day are off, forget about it. And even if a reading’s assumptions about you are valid, it’s up to you to determine if the advice is useful in your situation or not.
Third: Horoscopes remind me that even though a lot of what happens in life is beyond my control, I still have the power of choosing how I respond to it. Even if the premises are not scientifically proven, the authority of a leading scholar or best-selling author is unnecessary for a source to convince me that a lot of what life throws at me is completely beyond my control. But as I said at the conclusion of my first point, horoscopes don’t stop at, “The universe is going to shit on you today, 'K?” Horoscope readings always frame the conversation in a way meant to remind the reader that they have power over their reactions to life.
What's so crazy about finding it plausible that the universe’s largest bodies, made up of the same stuff as us, affect us?
It’s easy to bash astrology when your criticism is based on a simple understanding of the practice. I just think it’s weak as fuck that a study used by many of mankind’s great civilizations over thousands of years is now a complete joke simply because it isn’t scientific. Even weaker is many men's conflation of astrology’s inferiority as a study to the perceived inferiority of women as lesser thinkers driven mainly by emotions. While some level of subscription to astrological basics is required to trust a horoscope reading, I’m certain most women who are into horoscopes aren’t staring at a poster of their astral chart on their bedroom ceiling or blaming their successes and failures on wherever the fuck Mercury may be at a given moment.
At the end of the day, most women are not looking to cuff or dump dudes based on their sun sign compatibility, and I’m sure the vast majority of women who read horoscopes know good and well that astrology is not a legit science. But that doesn't make horoscopes any less fun to read; and when consumed with discretion, they can be valuable sources of self-help advice and good vibes. Why should anyone shit on that?
I’m sure I’m not the only guy anxious about the near future who would like to have some vague yet comforting certainty about it. Let the ladies (and me) live.