Learning Astrology, or “Please Explain Why I’m Like This”

Look, I hate to be all “the planets and the moon affect my moods” about this but…I feel like the planets and the moon definitely affect my moods. Today’s a full moon in Cancer and frankly, I have felt like crying all freaking day.

I know, I know, you’re not really into astrology. I get it. I’ve lost contact with many a cute Tinder match because I asked for someone’s sign or told them my moon sign unbidden. Today, at lunch, I tried explaining to someone why I thought I was in a funk this week, and cut myself short. “It’s the moon,” I said. “Actually, you know what, don’t let me talk about this.” I trailed off, embarrassed, while a coworker I barely know stared at me quizzically.

I feel personally attacked by this tweet

I wish I could say that I have always been into astrology, but the truth is — like most things I’m now “into” (theater, Zadie Smith, beer, to name a few) — I only really got into it to impress someone I wanted to like me. Except it wasn’t a specific “someone,” it was a whole group of someones.

My junior year of college, I was heartbroken and confused all of the time. Searching for reprieve and more understanding of myself, I signed up for A-Camp. For four days, I met queer people from all over the United States (and the world!) and for four days I used the shoddy cell service I could get on the top of a mountain to look up my “sun moon and rising” signs.

I was trying to impress my new friends, sure, but more than that I wanted to fit in. Of course not all queer people are into astrology, just like not all straight people are into gender-reveal parties for their unborn babies. But it felt like a lot of people at A-Camp knew about the planets! And I’ve never been good at feeling like the only person in the room who doesn’t know something. So I tried really hard to learn, but my brain felt like a sieve. That may have more to do with the fact that I was consistently tipsy that week, or that I actually was developing a crush on someone over the course of those days (maybe not that, though, since I didn’t really realize I had a crush on her until I was plotting ways to sit next to her at our final dinner…). Sometime during that sunny day we spent together, she told me she was a Gemini. I didn’t really know what that meant.

Look how far I’ve come

When I say I’m not good at feeling like the only person in the room who doesn’t know something, I mean that I actively avoid anything that makes me feel dumb. I ignore people I have crushes on, I don’t raise my hand with thoughts in class discussions, I REFUSE to do improv ever, and I stopped trying to learn about astrology for years. (Okay that sounds dramatic, but it really was two years before I tried to learn any more.)

In October of last year, I lost my job (I swear I’ll write about it someday). The Scorpio New Moon happened the next week, bringing with it a slew of posts from my Facebook and Twitter friends about the opportunities for rebirth and changing paths. Maybe just a coincidence, but maybe not. Either way, I felt immediately at ease. Suddenly, it wasn’t crazy to drive four days to a city where I had no job or plan. The stars! The planets! The moon! They would guide me!

Over the next few days, I (completely unrelatedly) had a friend read my birth chart , and I felt the same sense of peace. Everyone wonders why they are the way they are, right? Look at my Venus sign to feel more at ease in my failed relationships, look at my moon sign to explain why I always feel SO MUCH, look at my rising sign to understand why I’m so annoying. I kid, of course, but not completely.


I imagine this is what my family feels like about religion. Always having a place to rest comfortably, something that feels bigger than yourself and yet so totally within you. I’ve also taken to converting my friends — I read people’s birth charts over wine, I send my friends memes about their signs, I peruse multiple horoscopes weekly (with my friends and my crushes in mind, usually). It’s a joke, but not. It’s magic, but not. It’s made up, but isn’t everything?

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