Friday, February 26, 2010

The Age Of Aquarius. Or Pisces. Whatever.

"When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then . . . "

Then? Then NOTHING. With all due respect to The 5th Dimension, peace and love will neither "guide planets" nor "steer stars." The guiding and steering will be accomplished through strict adherence to the laws of physics, thank you very much. But most humans don't understand that stuff and don't really even want to, so we have created Astrology. This is the art of using the planets, moon and stars to make vague predictions that never come true, yet are never false, or to dispense generic advise that sounds tailor-made to the reader. That people can make a living writing horoscopes is almost as astounding to me as the fact that millions of people take them at least somewhat seriously.

I used to read my horoscope daily, purely for amusement. When the hazy predictions and half-assed advice didn't seem to fit my situation, I'd try to mold my life to make them fit. I think one of the reasons I've always felt so out of synch with the Universe is that for many years, I thought I was a Pisces. Don't ask – I do not wish to discuss it. Whatever the reason, I was following the wrong advice. Who knows what effect this has had on my life! To find out, I decided to do some research. With the help of the internet, I was able to find a massive archive of horoscopes, dating back to several years before my birth. The stuff published before I reached reading age was interesting, but not particularly helpful.

From the date of my birth: "Step back from recent business proposals and let love guide you to spiritual prosperity. Relatives play a role in your inner peace. Stay clear of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Leo, Cancer, Capricorn and some Aries."

Yeah. Far out, man! I'm a bit curious as to just what recent business proposals were on my plate at age one DAY. And just how interested in spiritual prosperity was I? I was busy coping with the horrific shock of my first light and room temperature!! Good advice on staying clear of almost EVERYBODY, though. I'm antisocial because some astrologer TOLD me to be!

From my first birthday: "Handle details adroitly. Lunar cycle is high. You will be at the right place at a special moment. You prove that nothing short of a miracle can stop you."

Ha-HA!! Watch out, man – A one-year-old at the right place and time, with adroitly-handled details, can only be stopped by a miracle!

Okay, so they're looking pretty generic so far. But check this one out: "Your moon is in Gemini. Keep a close watch on your coworkers. One might have his eye on "your" promotion. When you wake up tomorrow, your belly will be covered with silly little red-white-and-blue stitches. Tug on them all you want – they're just decoys. The real deal is below your diaper-line."

Obviously, at 18 months old I had no coworkers or promotion concerns. But the part about the stitches is clearly referring to the hernia operation I was to have the next morning. If only I could have read this at the time – I could have avoided wasting all that time and effort picking at those stupid things.

I started reading the horoscopes in early 1979, while I was in the sixth grade. The effects of reading the wrong sign became evident early in my research. One example came from March of that year while school was out for Spring Break. My correct (Aquarius) horoscope: "Virgo is rising. Stick close to home. Now is not the time for risky endeavors. Beware of misguided friends' bad advice. Tread cautiously where legal matters are concerned." Had I followed that advice, the day would have gone fine, but I was reading the Pisces horoscope: "The Sun is in Leo and the Moon is going from Taurus into Gemini. Today is a good day for a little adventure. Trust your friends to lead the way. Take risks! Some rules were made to be broken, or at least bent a little." I diligently followed this advice and trusted my friends Jimmy and Hank to lead the way to a little rule-bending adventure. This adventure consisted of breaking into our school on a Saturday, setting off silent alarms and being rounded up and delivered home by the police. A nice long grounding followed.

A few years later, there was another rotten series of events which could have been avoided by reading the correct horoscope. One night, while my family and I enjoyed our safe little dinner in our safe little kitchen in our safe little suburb, some motherless punk stole my Schwinn ten-speed from our front steps. The next morning, I read: "The Sun is in Gemini and the Moon is going from Cancer into Taurus. Yesterday's loss should be replaced with an identical item as soon as possible. There is no time for thinking! Take charge and get things done!" My instructions were clear. I immediately replaced the bike with an identical new one.

Had I realized I was an Aquarius, I would have read: "The Sun is in Gemini and the Moon is going from Cancer into Taurus. Let go of recently departed possession, no matter how you cherished it. Replacement would only disappoint, or worse. 'Moving on' is an important learning experience." If only I had read that. The new bike was possessed by demons and tried repeatedly to kill me. I had been riding bikes for years, and none had ever tried to kill me. Sure, I'd had wrecks before, even one that sent me to the emergency room, but those had all clearly been my fault. With this new bike I was suddenly finding the one wet leaf on an otherwise dry curve, or inexplicably zooming off the bike path and into a rocky ditch. Once, moments after I brought it home put it in its usual spot in the laundry room, its front tire exploded with the sound of a shotgun blast, knocking over the bike and our lawn mower. This demonic ten-speed came to be known as Christine, the bike from Hell, and she serves as a reminder to follow the correct horoscope.

This pattern continued for well over a decade. I'd follow the advice outlined in the Pisces horoscope and my life would proceed to get just a bit more whacked. One of my worst missteps was caused by the Pisces/Aquarius mismatch of May 9th, 1990, just before my graduation from college. Pisces told me: "Moon is rising and Sun is leaving Aries. Now is the time for staying the course, career-wise. You are on the right track, and the rewards down the line will make all worthwhile. Your need to constantly connect with people has led you here; capitalize on that!" This didn't require much interpretation. I knew I was being instructed to stick with the retail career path I had begun back in high school. Needless to say, that was the wrong thing to do, but time had to teach me that lesson. I could have avoided so much hell had I simply read Aquarius that fateful morning: "Moon is rising and Sun is leaving Aries. The career path on which you are traveling is all wrong; it's time for an about-face! Your creativity and spirit will be crushed to black powder, lest you find work that lets you express yourself. Avoid dealing with Gemini, Aries, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Pisces, Libra, Scorpio, most other Aquarius and all but one Taurus."

By the time I figured out that I was in fact an Aquarius, I had talked myself out of believing any of this stuff. So, aside from the occasional peek to confirm that they're still full of crap, I stopped reading the horoscopes. They're usually so vague anyway. For example, this morning's horoscope says, "Look beyond the immediate. Money spent on furniture at that store that went out of business before delivering the goods will not be repaid – despite your having used American Express! A journey to the sea, most likely the Delaware shore, is distinct possibility. US men play for Olympic hockey gold on Sunday. Make a point of watching the game. Finish what you started with that 'horoscopes' piece." See? Now what the hell am I supposed to do with all that? I can't make heads or tails of it.

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