Horoscopes

Val gets totally excited to read her horoscope each month until she remembers they’re utter crap. What’s your view on horoscopes?

I worked on this for a few hours on Saturday, but the result was humorless and gave the impression that I spend a significant part of my life thinking about how much I hate horoscopes. This was because I had just spent several hours making my annual paper chain, a task I find ultimately rewarding, but highly irritating at the time.

This year's tree

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Regarding the horoscope question:

  1. I do not give them any credence whatsoever.
  2. I do not understand how they are supposed to work.
  3. I sometimes read them anyway.

When I was 23 or so, I worked at a coffee shop in downtown Eugene, Oregon. One of our most regular customers was a kind and lonely man who was brilliant in his own way, but who nevertheless ascribed to the various intricacies of astrology and other New Age-ish type things. One day, after he gave a particularly impassioned spiel about how so-and-so was making a mistake by doing such-and-such when Jupiter was something or other, I said: “Look, I was born on the same day in the same hospital as two other people I have known for years. Our lives are totally different and we’re not the same in any way, except for that I think we all probably don’t believe in astrology. I just don’t see how outer space can influence things like financial decisions, which were invented so recently.”

He responded, “So you’re an Aquarius, huh?”

Touché, nerdy customer, touché.

That was the first and only time that I ever came close to believing.

Generally, horoscopes feel like an inside joke that I have no interest in understanding — like fantasy sports or opera. It always gets me when people assume that I should know what various signs and events signify, because they might as well be speaking a foreign language. A friend will say, “My new boss is really smart, but man is he ever an Aries!” Or, “My sister drives me crazy; she is such a Gemini.” And then look at me knowingly. I have no idea what those things are supposed to mean. Not the faintest inkling.

This year's treeNevertheless, this site is one of my occasional procrastination devices. Mostly because I like how the writing and I appreciate an outside perspective, even if it’s totally random. The advice is always sound, but I don’t believe that this has anything to do with astrological accuracy. The writer, Rob Brezsny, has a uniquely compassionate and whimsical view on the world and ways to live a better life. I feel certain that the advice filed under “Aquarius” is no more helpful than what I would find under “Sagittarius.”

Many people say they read horoscopes “for fun,” that they don’t really believe them or think they are real. My brain doesn’t work that way. I don’t read horoscopes for the same reason I don’t consult tarot cards, psychics or palm readers: They encourage a type of magical thinking that I find disempowering, even when I know it’s bullshit.

I respect many people who feel differently.

 

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One Response to Horoscopes

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