You know when I read a lot of horoscopes? When my relationships are going terribly.
Really, whenever I feel like I am about to break up with someone – I am borderline incapable of breaking up with people because it would be a testament to my inability to ‘make it work’ (Tim Gun lives inside my hair and repeats his catchphrase in a way that’s downright incessant) – I really just want to sit around and read horoscopes. All the horoscopes, everywhere.
It’s great. God, horoscopes give you a feeling of order in the universe. When something difficult that I do not have the ability to correct is going on, I don’t want to say it’s because of a lot of issues, some of which relate to me, some of which I have nothing to do with, and therefore cannot alter. No. What I want to do is say it is because mercury is in retrograde.
Here is how the dictionary defines Mercury: the smallest planet and the nearest to the sun. Here is how I think of mercury: a tiny angry planet with a weird face that is sad and sort of pinched, that periodically says things like “let’s go fuck up Jen’s life” as though it was a cartoon character, but the angriest cartoon character. A cartoon character role model for sociopath children and internet commenters. This strikes me as 100% accurate in a way that, if you showed me a picture of Mercury without an angry, personified face, I would tell you that you had doctored the photos.
Though only when I am going through stressful periods. In non-stressed out periods, I am usually not an insane conspiracy theorist.
What’s nice about horoscopes during this period is that they give you a sort of time limit on suffering. In the same way, you can keep exercising when you tell yourself it’s only for, say, 10 miles, not “an unlimited unforeseeable amount of miles.” Mercury will be in retrograde for three weeks. You can wait out three weeks.
Eventually, things do get better, but, of course, it has nothing to do with mercury being in or out of retrograde. Things get better because things get better, or they get worse because things get worse. That’s the nature of the universe. Some proofs of omniscience are inevitable.
Still, during that period, that period where I feel out of control of my own life, I also love the sort of plucky advice horoscopes gives. It is SO plucky. In addition to putting time limits on things, horoscopes are supposed to offer you a sort of daily map that means you can outwit destiny. Or, if not destiny, any difficult situations that happen to be presenting in your life. You can control your own life! You just need to do really basic stuff that you should have figured out on your own, anyway!
Let’s look at a horoscope from today:
” it may be more difficult to put your feelings out in the open with the Moon’s presence in your 12th House of Secrets. It’s best to avoid being drawn into an intense disagreement that’s fueled by fear of the unknown.”
So, today’s advice is “don’t start fights with people.” Or specifically, “don’t start fights with people about random future outcomes.” I think that is pretty good advice for everyone. I mean, they’re rarely wrong, horoscopes. Pretty much every day is going to go better if you don’t get drawn into fights with people. And if you are the kind of person who reads horoscopes when you are feeling a lot of pressure, that may be advice you need right then.
I sometimes wish horoscopes would be even bolder. I wish they would say things like “stop taking food from the office fridge, eating a bite, and then putting it back. That’s not how office fridges work; you freak squirrel-person.” I mean, yes, that’s specific, but someone somewhere needs to hear that. The person who needs to hear that is probably a Pisces. Just saying.
Though I suppose that sort of specificity would make it feel less real. It must be incredibly hard to write horoscopes that make everyone feel that you are talking directly to them.
And there is a lot of pleasure in it feeling real. I mean, to be perfectly honest, if I made one of the interns come up with a list of horoscopes for me right now, I would read them and probably take them somewhat seriously regardless of the fact that I know my interns don’t have magical powers (they spend all day doing that Darth Vader thing where they try to crush my head, but it never works). But it would not be quite as good because I like the idea that somewhere out there, there is someone who sees the order of the universe. And I want to feel that the universe has an order.
Actually, I might just start worshiping my intern as a demi-God, in that case.
I bet if anyone I know gets a horrible disease, all I’ll do is hang out with astrologers. I’ll probably wear a pretty cool turban.
As you can see, I have sort of a hard time wearing a turban, seriously. But one day. It could happen one day.
Basically – I read horoscopes because horoscopes are the equivalent of someone, some nice woman who can wear a turban sincerely, taking you by the hand and telling you that everything is going to be alright. And we all need that sometimes. One that notes my horoscope also says: “Indulging in delicious food, sweet music, and the wonders of nature makes you fall in love with life!”
I think that works for all of us. Go eat some nice food and listen to some nice music. Everything is going to be fine.