An Astrological Identity Crisis

Let me start by saying that I have a love/hate relationship with astrology. I know it’s not based on science at all. There’s no way to prove that certain personality traits are automatically attached to having been born at a certain time of the year. And I refuse to believe that one’s fate can be determined by reading a horoscope. That would mean that there are only 12 possibilities for any person on any given day. Poppycock. I’m a science person. I believe in facts.

On the other hand, I enjoy being a Capricorn. And the traits ascribed thereto do seem to fit me perfectly. But is that because I read about them and adjusted to them, or have I convinced myself that these qualities fit me, while overlooking my many other qualities? Hard to say.

I also do enjoy talking to people about their signs and how they think said signs describe who they are. And it can be fun to read the horoscope, but I certainly wouldn’t change my plans because of it. And I do find it comforting to be able to categorize people. It’s kind of an emotional shorthand. But to rely too heavily on that would be to grossly underestimate people.

I think of astrology as a fun little game. A curiosity. An ice breaker at the best of times.

So I was rather surprised at my visceral reaction when I read this article and discovered that by some interpretations, I have been a Sagittarius all along. Wait. What?

It seems that the sun actually passes through a 13th constellation, called Ophiuchus. First of all, let me just say that that’s unpronounceable to an annoying degree. Second, it throws off the dates for all the other signs. Chaos!

Does this mean I have to adapt to a whole new set of personality traits? Or is it the signs that should do the adapting? Who am I now?

Just for fun, I decided to read up on Sagittarians. Apparently, they’re smart, caring, deep, and brutally honest. Okay, that does sound like me. But they’re also supposedly wild and outgoing. I’m most definitely not wild, and I am the poster child for introversion. On the negative side, they are impatient. Okay, yeah. That’s me. But they’re also careless, boastful, and attention seeking. I’d like to think I’m none of those things. (Well, maybe sometimes. But usually not.)

For the most part, being a Sagittarius does not resonate with me. But who knows? Maybe I’ve been looking at myself from the wrong part of the sky all along.

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Pragmatism

I was just reading a book about clutter reduction which actually had some extremely helpful advice. But then the author advocated a certain way of folding one’s clothes because she says that when clothes are in a drawer, they are resting, and it’s impossible to rest if you’re all wadded up. Also, if you don’t show your clothes that you respect them, it hurts their feelings.

Oh, please. I refuse to live my life in fear of offending inanimate objects. It’s not going to happen.

Practicality and pragmatism are my watchwords.

While I consider myself a spiritual person, and I’ve seen many things that can’t easily be explained, I genuinely believe that I need to take care of myself, first and foremost, rather than expecting some higher power to step in on my behalf.

Even though I do seem to have a lot of friends whose birthdays fall within range of certain astrological signs and not others, and I enjoy reading the horoscopes on occasion, I refuse to believe that every person on the planet needs to rigidly adhere to one of twelve possible predictions every day. Humans are way too complex to be pigeonholed like that.

My dogs are my best friends, but they’re still dogs. I once told a dog sitter the times they are accustomed to being fed, and she became very concerned because she couldn’t guarantee that she’d be able to make the 3 pm feeding. She thought I’d be upset if she fed them at 5 instead. But I said, “They’re dogs. They’ll have to get over it, won’t they?”

Speaking of dogs, a friend of mine has to go way out of his way to obtain a rare brand of dog food, as it is the only thing his poodle will eat. Oh, really? I bet that dog’s stubborn resolve would only last a day or two. You’ll eat what I give you, Pookie.

I have another friend who irons her underwear. Why is this important in life? Why?

And don’t even get me started about bureaucracies. The stupidity that abounds in them is enough to make me want to pull my hair out by the roots. “Because that’s how it has always been done” is not a valid response to my inquiries.

I enjoy flights of fancy as much as the next person, but I only allow things to influence the way I live my life if they make sense. So my undies will just have to suffer from wounded egos and remain wadded up in my drawer. Life’s just too freakin’ short.

cluttered_lingerie_drawer

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My Tarot Year

I’m not a particularly superstitious person. I find astrology interesting, and I have noticed that the birthdays of most of my good friends tend to be clustered in certain specific times of the year, but I don’t believe that on any given day, every human on earth has but one of twelve destinies. Life is a lot more complicated than that. I was also born in the Chinese year of the dragon, and I’m not going to let that restrict me in any way from being my own person.

In addition, I wouldn’t alter the way I live my life based on a tarot card reading, but I think the tarot opens up an interesting dialogue about the way you are living your life, and the choices that you are making based on current circumstances. I therefore find it a fascinating exercise. And I have to admit that sometimes it does cause the hair on the back of my neck to stand straight up.

That very thing happened just the other day when a new friend (Hi, Amelia!) introduced me to an interesting tarot game. You take your birth month and birth day, and add those numbers with the current 4 digit year. For me that resulted in the number 2055. Then you add those numbers together, and it comes up with 12. So this year, for me, is supposed to be symbolized by the 12th card in the Tarot’s Major Arcana. And that happens to be the hanged man.

So what does the hanged man symbolize? I visited many websites to find out, and the gist of it seems to be about letting go. About change and emotional release. About becoming vulnerable and opening yourself up to new things. It’s about going toward a new reality. And if you look at the card, the hanged man appears to be at peace and seems to have placed himself there willingly.

hanged_man

Okay, there goes the hair on the back of my neck. Because this year I’ve been adjusting to a new city in a new state where I knew no one. A change that I chose to take on myself. It’s about a new job and a new place to live and it’s about grieving my late boyfriend. Cue the eerie music.

So just out of curiosity, what’s in store for me next year? I did the math, and it’s the 13th card. The death card. Oh, great.

But don’t panic. Tarot cards rarely mean what they seem to at first glance. It doesn’t mean I’m going to die. It’s about ending one phase, but also beginning a new one. It’s about renewal, transformation, a break from the past. Out with the old, in with the new.

Again, I doubt I’ll change the way I live my life based on this information, but still… I’ll take it!

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Astrology and Names

I have to admit I have a big problem with astrology. I don’t buy that on any given day there are only 12 paths to choose from for everyone on the entire planet. And of course, it has no real basis in science, so if you were to trace it back to its genesis, you’d find that basically someone made it all up.

But, having said that, I’m not willing to discount that it was made up based on some interesting observations about people. I have noticed that if I mark all my friends’ birthdays on a calendar, they tend to be clumped into well-defined time frames. In other words, people in certain astrological signs seem to appeal to me much more than others, and that has been the case throughout my life. It’s rather uncanny. And if that’s merely a coincidence, it would be even more uncanny.

But then I’ve noticed this trend with names as well. For instance, if your name is Debbie or Ray or Paul or Vicky or Carol, odds are we’ll get along swimmingly. If your name is Bob or Andy or Linda, we probably won’t. Not that I’d discount you based on your name. It just often seems to work out that way in the end.

The point is, you can probably find a pattern in anything if you look hard enough.

Maybe my skepticism about astrology comes from my tendency to be stubborn and cautious, which are, by the way, common traits for Capricorns. 🙂

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[Image credit: DIDIH.com]