I confess, I am a brain-picker; I like the way gray matter tastes, but only when it’s seasoned just right. When it gets too left brained and medicinal, I start thinking I’m a psychiatrist, and if it’s sprinkled with the personality quizzes of trashy magazines or gets too mystical, I start feeling like I need a colonic. The only art I have found that has managed to seamlessly blend the right amount of left-brain logic with a dash of right-brain color and intuition is astrology.
But astrology itself is not what I’m focusing on, I’m not going to try to convince you into having your chart read; instead, I want to give you an unadulterated glimpse into the mental struggles of an astrologer. You already think I’m nuts for devoting my time and attention to the new-age craze, so what have I got to lose?
To me, astrology is less of a subject and more of a skill. When one of my family members acts less than ideal, because I know their sign, I can forgive or excuse them, and move on. Or I can read someone’s words, listen to their complaints, worries, shortcomings, and immediately begin to paint the picture of their planetary profile. Even though I don’t know a lot of people, I know people.
As with any skill, astrology requires a lot of focus to develop. I have been intensely absorbed in developing my astro-skills for 7 years, immersing myself in the details of each zodiac sign, astrological house, and planet in the birth chart. Naturally, it has become a part of my everyday thought process, and a bit of a game.
When I’m watching a movie or TV, I’m always trying to guess the character’s sign, just based on their motivations. “Oh, she is possessive and intense, but has a softer side, she must be a Scorpio.” And when I am people watching, I try to figure out zodiac signs based off of someone’s body language or the way they style their hair, or whether or not they wear jewelry; “Why would he look right at me with interest, but not immediately come up to me? And those tattoos and the man bun? He must be an Aquarius. But he looks like Josh Hartnett, so maybe there’s a Cancer moon or something? Hmmm….”
But being obsessed with the inner workings of people is draining, especially when you don’t have lot of raw material to deal with and your mind is swimming in an ocean of notions and nuances. My brows are eternally furrowed in concentration as I ponder the possible placements of an attractive guy or an obnoxious woman I come across, but I’ve learned my lesson, and I keep my thoughts to myself.
There is an Aries whom I adore (sometimes) and have known for a year. I’ve spent hours in vain hypothesizing his ascendant, going back and forth between this sign and that sign, trying to see which one I believe truly fits. But I’ll never know exactly what sign his ascendant is because neither he nor his mother has evidence of his birth time! I know all of his other placements, but I am constantly wondering about the one missing piece.
I am more concerned with discovering the sign that was rising in the eastern horizon when he took his first breath than I am with getting to know him.
Do you want to know how many friends I have? 2. How many of those friends do you think aren’t my brother? 1. Curiously, they are both Capricorns. And for the record, the Aries, is not a friend, he’s an acquaintance.
People are a puzzle to me – literally. I am always attempting to solve the quandary of human relation, but I never actually relate to any humans. And part of the problem is caused by my neurotic interest in astrology.
You would think that being so well versed in the poetry of people makes me a smash hit everywhere I go, because if I know how people tick, I know how to win them over, right? Wrong.
I don’t know how to talk to people normally, and I constantly embarrass myself in social situations. It’s not like I’m Rain Man stuttering incessantly about Venus and Mars; I just don’t know what normal people talk about. I’m always so in my own head, picking apart the brains of every person I see that I lose touch with the present moment (I’m like the antithesis of mindfulness), and I don’t know how to approach a conversation like an average person.
And romance? Forget it. I love to flirt, but I mean it’s not exactly sexy to spout a line like, “My Pisces moon sensed some earthy Capricorn in your chart, mister. Can we go back to your place?” No one would know what the hell I was talking about. And it might be a great icebreaker in theory, but when they learn that I’m serious about it, people tend to smile weakly and walk away.
So I just kind of… keep to myself and my studies. But now as I’m venturing out of my youth drenched days, where being a weirdo wallflower is no longer endearing, I have to ask an important question:
Has astrology ruined personal relationships for me?
I equate the wealth of astrological knowledge I have accumulated over the last 7 or so years to music theory (which I have studied as well BTW). The thing that really bugged me about music theory is how much fun it took out of music; instead of listening and marveling at the melodies and hidden sounds composers and musicians snuck into their tracks, I was analyzing them, trying to discern between a major 3rd and minor 6th. And I do the same thing with the aspects of a birth chart.
The more I continue my astrological pilgrimage, the more I notice that I am theorizing and dissecting people and their personalities like lab rats. I swear if you were stuck in my head while I was grocery shopping, you would be bobbing for apples in liquid nitrogen in hopes that the thoughts would immediately freeze.
I know a lot about behaviors and logic, but when it comes to real-life, I’m clueless. My astrology books never taught me what “hang out” means in Aquarian or Aries, or how to not be awkward with your Sagittarius boss. As with most higher education pursuits, I’m left ill prepared for the real world after graduation. I may be psychologically evolved, but I am a social retard.
I can fake conversations with the best of them, but I am at that stage in my life where I want to have meaningful, thought provoking, intellectual exchanges, not forced small talk about juicing or the weather.
How many people do you think I can have a conversation about astrology with? I’ll tell you: None. No one knows about astrology, at least not to the extent which I do. And having such a heavy interest in the subject can feel like a social stigma out in public, because I know I have to keep my mouth shut.
So I seem enigmatic and aloof because I am quiet, but once my astro-floodgates open, people start backing away with their ears covered, shaking their head in disbelief, “Just another screwball.”
The thing is I like being a screwball; I just wished the world was a little more tolerant of the interests that make me so damn odd (and I also wish I had something less new-agey to talk about when I first meet people).
Every writer, food critic, doctor, psychologist, or person dedicated to a particular study can agree that the components of the subject you preoccupy yourself with consumes your thoughts. I mean, how else do you become an expert?
After a while, though, the things you started reviewing with rapt interest lose their organic luster. What was once imaginative and cryptic, full of warmth and wonder is now cold, lifeless, and scientific. Things never completely lose their mystery, but they do dry up like an overcooked chicken.
Like, if people were a novel, instead of starting at chapter 1 and watching the growth and development of a character, I just skip to the end; “He’s an Aquarius with a moon in Taurus? I already know what happens, next please!” Or with the Aries, instead of establishing an actual friendship with him, I am just obsessed with trying to solve the unknown ascendant variable in his astrological equation.
I’m like an astrology plastic surgeon; I’ve studied, prodded and poked the nakedness of natal charts and zodiac signs so much that I am oblivious to the blood, guts, and boobs. I don’t see a body when I look at a person, I see a birth chart.
There is no doubt in my mind that astrology is an incredibly useful tool, and I do believe that having a basic knowledge of sun signs can help us all to get along a little easier, but it seems to be an operation I can’t turn off.
Sometimes I can’t believe I spend hours on end thinking and writing about this crap. But I do, and I love it. The natal chart is this perplexing, invaluable blueprint that can reveal everything about your presence in the world; your hopes, dreams, habits, struggles, and relationships. But I’ve stopped looking at the humanity pulsing through the planetary placements, replacing healthy human curiosity with calculations and reasoning.
There is no equation for life, it can’t be explained simply, no matter how hard anyone tries; and you can’t replace real-life experience with material from books (or in my case, birth charts). So even though I am bound and determined to bring more awareness to astrology, I have to know when to draw the line.
But in the end, if I was given an ultimatum by an astrological soul mate, “it’s astrology or me.”, I would choose astrology. I won’t apologize for the interest that makes me unique, it’s a talent, dammit! And you know what I would say to said soul mate? “You wait, you Aquarian Bastard, one day, you’ll be begging for my cosmic advice.” Then I would drop the mic, throw my hair back, and walk away on winds of Leo independence.
So yeah, I’m weird. I know it, you know it, the employees of the Whole Foods I frequent knows it, but I don’t care. I’m incredibly gifted with this cosmic crap, and I just have to get used to sharing it with the world slowly, and learn to look at people the way they look at me: with healthy annoyance and disinterest.